For more information on Early Start services, please see WarmLine's Early Start Resource Guide The first three years are an important period of growth for all children. During this time, infants or toddlers may have a developmental delay or disability need special help to reach their full potential. Services and supports that can help your child and family are called Early Intervention Services . In California, the program is called Early Start . If you are concerned about your child's development, the first step is to have him or her assessed. You can refer your child or you can have a professional make the referral for you. WarmLine Family Resource Center is the family support part of Early Start services. We can answer questions you have about Early Start and let you know where to call to have your child assessed or where to get services.
Early Start / Early Intervention Overview of California’s Early Start/Early Intervention Services in California (Excerpted from California Map to Inclusion and Belonging: www.CAinclusion.org)
Early Start seeks to promote and enhance a coordinated, family-focused service system for infants and toddlers from birth to age three years with a significant developmental delay, a disability or an established risk condition with a high probability of resulting in a delay or disability.
Early Start is designed to: ~ Provide a system of referral and assessment that results in individualized services and supports for infants and toddlers and their families within their community, ~ Be family-focused by keeping families informed about services for their children and supporting families and including them as collaborative decision makers. The California Department of Developmental Services (DDS) is the lead agency for … administration of Early Start. (In the Sacramento area, the services are primarily provided by Alta California Regional Center (ACRC). DDS collaborates with the ...Special Education Division of the California Department of Education for services of some children. (Primarily children with “low incidence” disabilities, which are solely visual, hearing and/or severe orthopedic impairment.)
Early Start eligibility criteria: ~ The age (of the child) at the time of the initial referral… ~ A 33% developmental delay in one developmental area before 24 months of age: Cognitive development, Physical and motor development, Communication development, Emotional/social development, Adaptive development. ~ At 24 months or older, either a delay of 50% in one developmental area or a 33% delay in two or more developmental areas. ~ An established condition with a high probability of causing a delay or disability.
Early Start Services: Are designed to meet the individual needs of each infant or toddler and needs of the family, Are provided in “natural environments”, Are provided to families by qualified personnel, Include transition to appropriate services at three years of age.
Natural Environment: Any setting where typically developing children of a similar chronological age are found, Includes home, neighborhood, child care, preschool, parks, birthday parties, informal gathering of family and friends, etc. A “Natural Environment” is more than a location. It is a way of approaching service.
A Natural Environment Is: ~~A location where this child would go if he did not have a disability ~~Where other children go who do not have disabilities ~~In a part of the community where children and families without disabilities spend time when they are not being treated for illness or health issues.
A Natural Environment Is Not: ~~ A location where people usually go because they have disabilities or medical issues. ~~A location that was chosen because it had specialized equipment ~~A location that was chosen because it was convenient for specialists who work with the child. Early Start Services may Include: Assistive technology devices/services Audiology services Some health services Nursing services Occupational therapy Physical therapy Psychological services Service coordination Special instruction Social work services Transportation Speech & language services Vision services Medical services for diagnosis & evaluation Family training, counseling, home visits