Julie Huellmantel spoke as Early Intervention Specialist for the Grosse Pointe Public School System.
Early Intervention is a system of services that helps infants and toddlers with developmental delays or disabilities. It helps them learn the basic and brand-new skills that typically develop during the first three years of life, such as physical, cognitive, communication, social/emotional, and self-help skills.
Early On is a state-wide system of early intervention services mandated by federal legislation (Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). It’s designed to help families find the support and services to promote the development of their infants and toddlers. Its purpose is to enable young children (birth to three) to be active and successful participants in a variety of settings – in their homes, with their families, in childcare, preschool, and in the community.
In determining eligibility for the program, Ms. Huellmantel analyzes the child’s developmental history, conducts a routines-based interview, observes the parent and child interact, and looks at medical documentation (health, hearing, and vision). The evaluation looks at the developmental delay in five areas: cognitive, physical, communication, social or emotional, and adaptive. Parent input is considered in all of these areas.
When a child is eligible, an Individual Family Service Plan is put together. These plans are reviewed every six months, if not sooner, and the services available include vision, audiology, nursing, nutrition, and health. They are provided within a family’s routine.
The idea of the program is to coach the parents to be the best teachers possible and to enhance interaction. To make a referral or learn more, visit www.1800earlyon.org.