Public law guarantees services to children with special needs. Early Intervention Programs serve families of children with special needs from birth through three years. Suffolk County’s school districts decide eligibility and services for children aged three to five years old.
Early Intervention programs employ a team of professionals who specialize in the identification and treatment of children with special needs. The team may include:
- Developmental teachers
- Social workers
- Occupational therapists
- Speech/language therapists
- Physical therapists
Early Intervention is a broad program designed to:
- Improve the development of infants and toddlers with delays
- Minimize potential delay among children seriously at risk
- Assist families in meeting their children’s special needs
Early intervention services are most effective when they take place in the child’s home and when the family is involved. The program makes sure that families and children receive the right services and referrals. About 80% of children receive services at home. Speech and language are the most common services provided. The state and the county share the cost of the program, there is no charge to parents.
Early Intervention services may include:
- Home visiting
- Developmental assessments
- Parent support groups
- Parent-baby groups
- Toddler play groups
- Mental health counseling
- Consultation to child care programs
- Parent education
- Support during the transition to public school
For more information you can visit the Suffolk County Department of Health website.