BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Family Strengths Network is holding its annual Early Intervention Fair, April 5-10, in a different format this year due to COVID restrictions. Normally, the fair would be an in-person event people could physically attend and meet personally with service providers, but this year, things look a little different.
Early intervention is the term used to describe the services and support that are available to babies and young children with developmental delays and disabilities, as well as their families. They may include speech therapy, physical therapy and occupational therapy and can have a significant impact on a child’s ability to learn new skills and overcome challenges. Many children who receive early intervention services do not require additional services when they enter kindergarten in public school.
This week’s format will involve online interviews by event organizer Lissie Ham with several service providers in the Los Alamos area. She will asks them questions parents might want to know the answers to when seeking out early intervention for their children.
Ham said some of issues parents ask about include: a child is not talking, or the parent can’t understand what the child is saying because their articulation is delayed or they have trouble with specific sounds. Sometimes it can be that a child is not sitting, crawling or walking at the time that is typical or they have a delay in motor skills. She said early intervention can help with these and many other issues so that children are on track when they got to public school.
“The most critical thing for you to remember as a parent is that you don’t have to ‘know’ that your child needs intervention to find out. Early intervention programs are free. An evaluation costs you nothing but time and ensures your child is developmentally on track. And the biggest plus is that early intervention providers are happy when they get to tell you that your child is progressing as they should. There are no downfalls, only benefits,” Ham said.
Among the service providers to be interviewed by Ham are First Born of Los Alamos, Las Cumbres, a Los Alamos Public Schools pre-school teacher and Los Alamos JJAB. The interviews and other resources will be posted on the Family Strengths Network Facebook page.