If you have gone through the initial evaluation process and it was determined that your child is eligible for Early Start Services, your first probable instinct is to do whatever it takes to help your child before intervention begins. Here are a few options while you wait for services:
Play! Get on the floor and play with your child. Play enables children to interact with the world around them and essential to their growth and development. Facilitating play supports their developing brain, enhances their social emotional health, and fosters physical development through sensory exploration.
Find your nearest resource center. Family Resource Centers (FRCs) are locally based centers that provide FREE programs, services, and activities for families with children under age 5. Click here for more information.
Talk to other parents. Whether you meet them in Mommy & Me classes, special play groups, or at the park; connect with them and ask about resources in your area, talk about nurseries or preschools close by, or who they are seeing (doctors, specialists). Find self-help groups or organizations of individuals sharing a common concern who meet regularly to provide and receive emotional support and to exchange information.
Go private. If you are able to find a specialist (speech, occupational, or physical therapist; or developmental specialist) who has their own practice, you can pay out-of-pocket for services specific to your child’s needs. Shop around and see if private clinics offer a sliding fee scale.
Insurance. Early Start provides developmental services. If your child has a medical diagnosis (autism, speech sound disorder, dystonia, etc.) see if your healthcare insurance will cover private speech, occupational, or physical therapy; ABA; or other therapies.
Go public. Check out a university close by. If financial considerations reign supreme in your decision-making process, a public therapist or receiving services from a graduate student at a university clinic are options. Some programs may offer fees based on a sliding scale.
Read reliable material that offers guidance, techniques, and tips to help your little one while you wait. Check out First 5 of California’s website for a wealth of information.