Brief overview of services in N.Y.
Early intervention (EI) Ages 0-3
Early intervention services children from ages 0 till the child turns 3. Its free for all New York City children regardless of income. If your child has a diagnose or your child is not learning, playing, growing, walking or talking like other children their age ( communication, social-emotional, adaptive, cognitive, and physical delays) they may be eligible to receive services including - PT, OT, Speech, Special Education or Feeding therapy.
How do I apply?
- Call an Early intervention agency (see our list of agencies or call 311 )
- They will likely ask you what your concerns are. If your child has a diagnose or it sounds like your child may be eligible based on the concerns you have , they will call you down for a meeting to sign some paperwork. Otherwise, they will tell you to call back in a few months if your specific concerns don't go away.
- The meeting is pretty straightforward. You will get to meet your service coordinator (the one who will be in charge of your case) She will give you a basic overview of how Early Intervention works, and give you some forms to sign (that you give permission for them to evaluate your child and ect...)
- Within the next few weeks (usually with in 2 weeks or so but it depends on the agency) an evaluator/evaluators will come to see your child. An evaluator in the specific area/areas that you are concerned about (speech, ot....) will come plus a special educator . The special Educator looks at the whole child and sees if any other evaluations are necessary aside from the areas you are concerned about (For example if she sees that your child is behind in speech she may recommend a speech evaluator come as well)
- After all therapists meet your child, they will write up a report. You should receive a copy of it in the mail.
- After the reports are written up, you should receive a call from your service coordinator, who will make on appointment with you for IFSP meeting.
- The IFSP meeting will include at minimum - you early intervention official (from the NY department of health early intervention branch), your service cordiander, and yourself. If you wish, you can have your spouse, an advocate, or anyone else who knows your child well (babysitter, grandparent, playgroup teacher and ect...)
- You can choose where ever you want your child to receive services - school, babysitter, home and ect.
- Very hard to get before age 1 unless you have a diagnose (although sometimes they will give PT)
- Still, it's helpful to have an evaluation if you have concerns even if you don't get services bec
- If you re-evaluate at a later time, you have proof that the delay has been going on for a while already
- Your child will be tested so you'll get a basic idea where your child is holding and if you should be concerned
- You can still get tips and ideas on how to help your child from the evaluators
- remember you can have a reevaluation every 3 months so at the very least you don't lose out - you can just retest again when your child is older
- Although easier, above 2 yrs it can still be hard to get services, so if you can come with some sort of diagnose from a doctor, it will go a long way in helping your child get approved.
- By the meeting - come prepared! Make sure you read over the reports a few days beforehand and speak to your service coordinator if you think something written does not reflect the reality of your child. You don't want to come in saying one thing, while the report says something else.
- I know there are many wonderful things your child can do - but this is NOT the time to talk about them. Focus on what your child CANT do. Come in prepared with specific examples of what your concerned about - what your child cannot do and how it affects his daily life.