For Developmental Delays, Early On Help is Key

. August 31, 2018.
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“Don’t worry but don’t wait, it can definitely be scary, and there can be a sense of unknown, but the best thing you can do for your child is to reach out as early as possible,” said Alicia Kruk.

Washtenaw County’s Early On Program offers free support and training for parents of children with delays or disabilities

For new parents, the first year can be filled with worry. Each passing month can represent a milestone that your child may or may not be hitting. And while it can be perfectly normal for a child to progress differently and on their own time, there are some delays that may require parents to contact a professional for help.

Research shows that, especially between birth and age 3, adding therapies to help support delays can more effectively impact a child’s development, even into adulthood. This is where Early On Michigan can help.

“Intervening during these first years, when young minds and bodies are most malleable, helps children to grow to their fullest potential and become ready for success with friends, in school, and in life,” said Victoria Meeder, Marketing/Public Awareness Supervisor at Early On Michigan.

How it works

Early On offers early intervention services for the families of infants and toddlers with both developmental delay(s) and/or established conditions. The program offers a wide variety of therapies ranging from speech therapy, to physical and occupational therapy to Autism education.

In a nutshell, here’s how the program works:

Parents who may be concerned about a developmental delay or who’s children have an established condition can put in a referral request on the Early On website or by calling 1-800-early-on.
A professional will come to the home and evaluate whether or not the child is eligible for the program. If found eligible, Early On provides the family with an Individualized Family Service Plan which guides the outcomes/goals expected for the child to grow and develop and fully and lists the services to be provided by Early On.

Serving the Washtenaw County community

During the 2017-2018 school year, Early On’s Washtenaw County branch served 673 children (not including the evaluations conducted for children who were not found eligible.)

“All services are provided in the child’s natural environment, whether that’s the home or a different caregiver setting,” said Alicia Kruk, Washtenaw Intermediate School District Early On and Family Services Supervisor. “Research has shown that children, especially in this age group, learn best if they’re immersed in their own routines and environments, it’s more difficult for them to generalize a skill in an unfamiliar place.”

Kruk supervises a team of specialists who provide services to the children within the program. She advises parents to get in touch at the first sign that their child might have a delay.

“Having a child with a medical diagnosis or developmental delay can be scary, and if parents are concerned, I’d just reiterate our slogan: don’t worry but don’t wait, it can definitely be scary, and there can be a sense of unknown, but the best thing you can do for your child is to reach out as early as possible,” said Kruk. “We have a wide range of amazing professionals on staff including parent educators, speech pathologists, occupational and physical therapists, teachers and psychologists who can help.”

For more information or to enroll in the program, visit the Early On website at 1800EarlyOn.org, or call 1-800-early-on.