I remember our 15 month wellness check-up vividly. Our very layed back pediatrician saw our son crawling around the patient room and inquired if he is walking yet – “nope, not yet.” Then, he asked how many vocabulary words does he use other than “mama” and “dada.” Just “no” we replied. He scribbled a phone number on a piece of paper and recommended that we call New York City’s Early Intervention (EI) Program to schedule an evaluation. As a dad, I have always been relaxed about milestones – crawling, cruising, first words, solid foods, etc….however, I left the pediatrician’s office feeling a little deflated when he mentioned that it appeared our son had a “slight delay.” As a teacher, I knew about IEP’s (Individualized Educational Plans) in elementary school, but did not realize that children as early as young as 18 months old can have a similar IFSP (Individualized Family Service Plan).
Well, even though it wasn’t what I wanted to hear, I called the New York City Early Intervention Program to learn more about the evaluation and admission process…as well as the cost. You will be happy to know that this program is funded by the NY State Department of Health and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. I have had only positive experiences with the Early Intervention Process – they have been excellent partners in assisting my son (as well as teaching our family strategies) to excel in physical therapy.
I realize this topic is sensitive for many parents, so I was excited to get my November issue of New York Family Magazine. They devoted an entire section on Special Needs to assist parents with Things to Know If Your Child Has Special Needs (by Joanna Dreifus) as well as Understanding the Special Needs Landscape (by Cristina Dimen) in NYC because “parents of children with special needs face a maze of evaluations, programs, and services.”
Thanks New York Family Magazine for continuing to evolve and provide meaningful content for parents like us!