Criterion Child Enrichment

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Early Intervention Program Description

The first three years of life are the most crucial period for a child’s growth and development. Congenital, genetic, medical or environmental conditions may prevent young children from learning to move, explore, communicate and develop a sense of their own identity. The primary focus of early intervention is family education, training and support. The early intervention program is designed to enable parents and other caregivers to realistically assess the child’s developmental needs, incorporate educational and therapeutic strategies into daily routines and utilize available community resources. The early intervention program will provide intervention strategies tailored to the life style and values of the family. It will serve as a guide to reinforce effective parenting skills in order to foster the growth and development of the child at risk. By working collaboratively with those who have the greatest influence, the early intervention program strives to insure that each child, regardless of severity of need, will reach his or her maximum developmental potential.

Eligible children include those between birth and three years of age who were born with a disability or health condition that affects their development. Children who were born prematurely; have feeding, vision or hearing issues; are slow to crawl, sit, walk, talk or do things for themselves; have behavior or attention difficulties or have been identified as having environmental risk factors may also be eligible. Parents are encouraged to call the early intervention program if they have any concerns related to their child’s development.

One staff member will be assigned as the service coordinator for each child enrolled in the program. The service coordinator will work closely with the family and other caregivers to develop strategies to incorporate intervention strategies into the child’s daily routines. The service coordinator or the family may request consultation periodically form other staff members.
The early intervention team may consist of:

  • Speech and Language Therapist
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Physical Therapist
  • Developmental Specialist
  • Registered Nurse
  • Social Worker
  • Mental Health Clinician

All members of the early intervention team are certified as Early Intervention Specialists by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

An Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) is developed by the parents and early intervention team for each child. The plan, based on assessment results, includes the intervention strategies designed to assist the family to achieve desired developmental outcomes and describes the services required to facilitate the child’s progress. Plans are reflective of parental priorities and sensitive to the culture and values of the family.

The early intervention program (EIP) provides services in the home, at the early intervention center and at other locations in the community.
The EIP offers:

  • Screening
  • Developmental Assessment
  • Home Visits
  • Community Enrichment Groups
  • Parent Groups
  • Resource and Referral Information
  • Consultation to Community Early Childhood Programs
  • Opportunities for Parent Involvement
  • Professional Development Opportunities

In addition to individualized programs for eligible children, the early intervention program offers Developmental Enrichment Groups that are open to all young children in the community. Groups are designed to provide a structured opportunity for parents and their children to engage in activities designed to promote growth and development through play and social interaction. For more information or to register for a group, please call the center.

The early intervention program also offers consultation and training to all early childhood programs in the community. Staff work collaboratively with other programs to provide opportunities for inclusion of children enrolled in the early intervention program in community activities.

Parents, medical providers, community agencies and child care providers may call the program to refer a child if there are concerns related to the child’s development. An evaluation will be scheduled to determine eligibility. The early intervention program provides services to all eligible children and their families without regard to mental or physical disability, handicap, race, color, religion, gender, gender identity and expression, ancestry, national origin, age, genetic information, military or veteran status, sexual orientation, marital status or other categories protected by law.

Early Intervention services are funded primarily by private health insurance, MA Health and, as payer of last resort, the Department of Public Health.  Tax deductible donations are always welcome to help defray program costs.


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