Early Intervention Services - Assistance for Families of Children with Learning Disabilties

Many students suffer with learning disabilities that affect their ability to succeed in academic studies. Many of the effects and consequences of learning disabilities could be lessened or potentially eliminated if intervention occurs at an early age. It is never a good idea “to wait and see” if a child grows out of his or her learning problems.

By intervening early in a child’s life, an educational plan and actions can be mapped out that will support both a child and his or her parents in addressing the learning disability and how to cope with that disability.

Early Intervention - Strategies that Put Children on the Path to Educational Success

There are many early intervention services and programs around the country. Each of these programs provide parents a way to strategize a plan, so they can modify habits that might be heightening the learning disability, create instructional individualized programs that enhance learning, and provide helpful support to their children who are struggling with a learning disability. These programs stress the importance of parents and caregivers taking an active role in their child’s development and responding to their child’s needs in a positive and caring way.

When a child is identified as having a learning disability, these early intervention services provide an individualized family plan based on each child’s needs and disabilities. These plans include educational instruction. The education skills mainly focused on are in the three developmental areas: cognitive, language, and emotional/social.

Cognitive skills are the ability to think, learn and play. Language skills are the ability to understand and use language, and emotional/social skills are the ability to interact with others effectively.

The way these skills are taught is through individual sessions and also group sessions. Parents are taught to help their children through guided activities, such as reading books, singing songs, and even playing games.

Children are monitored for progress and are accessed to see if adequate progress is being made. If progress isn’t being observed, then further modifications in instructional material or different behaviors are tried.

The early intervention programs provide vital information to families, so they can promote learning in their own homes. This helps not only to enhance the children with learning disabilities with academic skills, but also enhances their social and emotional well-being.

Early Intervention Programs

Each state is required to provide early intervention programs to children from the age of 0 to 3 years of age under Part C of the Federal Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). It is possible to find the early intervention programs by contacting the Department of Health of each state. For example, in North Carolina, the Early Intervention Branch State Office is in Raleigh, North Carolina, and several branches are located throughout the state. In New York, each municipal/county has an early intervention program. For example, for citizens in the county of Albany, contact Albany County Health in Albany, New York.

However, there are also private programs; some states and counties contract out to private clinics.

  • Parents Helping Parents in San Jose, California, has an early intervention program.
  • Personal Touch Early Intervention Program has headquarters in Fresh Meadows, New York, and branches in the five boroughs of NYC, and the counties of Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk.
  • Bell Center for Early Intervention Program is located in Birmingham, Alabama.
  • Family Child Learning Center is located in Tallmadge, Ohio.