What is an Early Intervention program?
Early Intervention is a federally-mandated requirement to bring intervention services to children under the age of three in their natural environments, if the child is experiencing delays in development or is at risk of falling behind in development. Anyone may refer to the program, anywhere in the country. An assessment must be completely in a timely manner, to screen or assess for delays in language development, social interaction, thinking skills, motor skills and adaptive functioning. Occupational therapy in early intervention addresses motor and adaptive skills development. In each geographic area, throughout the USA, there is one, and only one, lead agency for early intervention, who helps families navigate through all other agencies that also serve young children, in an effort to create a more seamless and continuous system of care.
Linn Benton and Lincoln Counties in Oregon Early Intervention Agency and Funding
Early Intervention services for children under three years of age are funded by the child’s county of residence, while services for children from age 3 until entry into kindergarten are funded by the child’s local school district, but both are regulated by federal law through the early intervention portion of IDEA. In the Central Willamette Valley of Linn, Benton and Lincoln Counties, the Early Intervention services for both age groups are through one agency: the Linn Benton Lincoln Educational Service District (LBL ESD). Dixie school, on Peoria Rd in Corvallis, is the main site for Early Intervention locally, although services to the youngest are delivered in the client’s homes. Anyone may refer a child for a developmental assessment. If the child qualifies for services, a Support Coordinator is assigned to family to develop an Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) with them. If the team believes that specialized services of Occupational, Physical and/or Speech therapists are needed, they may ask their staff therapists to consult with the Early Interventionist (generalist teacher in early development) working with the child and family, or occasionally the IFSP may include a plan to provide direct therapy through the early intervention program and at no cost to the family.
Additional Services Funded outside of the LBL ESD Early Intervention Program for children birth to kindergarten
Medically necessary occupational, physical or speech therapy for babies and toddlers may also be available to families through their private or public health insurance programs. Corvallis Children’s Therapy provides services to families in this way, and coordinates with others involved in the care of your child.
The Oregon Department of Health, Division of Developmental Disabilities also offers service coordination to families of children identified with a developmental condition such as Developmental Delay in children under age 6, Cerebral Palsy, Autism, or a genetic condition often associated with delays in development. DHS eligibility criteria are different than those for Early Intervention qualification, but some young children qualify for both Early Intervention and Developmental Disability services. Developmental Disabilities can provide family support, fund respite care, purchase some necessary medical equipment, and occassionally purchase therapy services for children unable to access the services otherwise.
Headstart also offers early educational services to at risk young children during the preschool years.
Corvallis Children’s Therapy offers a full range of Occupational Therapy services for babies and toddlers. Our therapist has over 20 years experience handling special needs babies with a wide range of medical diagnosis.