Early Intervention Services for Infants, Toddlers, & Preschool Students
Act 212, the Early Intervention Services System Act, entitles all preschool children with disabilities to appropriate early intervention services. Young children experiencing developmental delays or physical or mental disabilities and their families are eligible for early intervention services including screening, evaluation, individualized education program planning and provision of appropriate programs and services. Potential signs of developmental delay and other risk factors that could indicate disabilities and the possibility that a child is an “eligible young child” could include:
By the age of 3: not saying many words; not using 2 or 3 word phrases and sentences; not walking; awkward gait (walking); drooling; not answering “show” or “what” questions; and/or not using utensils to feed self;
By age of 4 (all of the above included): not toilet trained; difficulty with directional words (in, on, under, out); not playing with other children, not able to draw a circle, cross or imitate a vertical line; not able to understand the child’s speech most of the time; difficulty following simple two-step directions (e.g., pick up the paper and put it in the garbage;
By the age of 5 (all of the above included): unable to answer “where” questions; unable to recall details from a story; not drawing a person with at least 6 parts; immature speech patterns (me instead of I), not able to hop forward with one foot without support;
Other warning signs at any age: little or no eye contact, over/under sensitivities to pain, light, noise; hand flapping; no awareness of space (always bumping into other people or things); awkward hand or foot positioning; won’t touch or eat certain textures; child no longer can do things he/she used to do; developed normally, then stopped; echoes what is said; plays with toys inappropriately (e.g., watches wheels spin on the car, but does not play with the car).
The Deer Lakes School District ensures that all students transitioning from early intervention programs to school-age programs within the district are transitioned without a disruption of services. Parents of children entering school age programs from early intervention are notified of the district’s transition activities, that include a joint informational session held at Curtisville in the late winter.
The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare is responsible for providing services to infants and toddlers, defined as children from birth through three years of age. For more information, contact: Alliance for Infants 412-885-6000.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education is responsible for providing services to preschool children from ages three through five. This program is presently coordinated by the Allegheny Intermediate Unit’s Early Childhood and Family Support Services program, DART (Discovery, Assessment, Referral, and Tracking). For information, contact: Allegheny Intermediate Unit: DART 412-394-5904.
Local Resources for Parents
If you have a child with an intellectual disability and/or emotional disturbance, he/she is entitled under the Pennsylvania Mental Health and Intellectual Disability Act of 1966 and the Pennsylvania Mental Health Procedures Act of 1976 to the services of a local Mental Health/Intellectual Disabilities (MH/ID) Center for an independent medical, psychological, and educational evaluation to be performed by a state-certified professional at no cost to you.
MH/ID BASE SERVICE UNIT: Allegheny County Office 412-253-1399 or 2-1-1
LOCAL CHAPTER OF THE PENNSYLVANIA ARC: ARC of Greater Pittsburgh 412-995-5000
DISABILITY RIGHTS PENNSYLVANIA: 800-692-7443 (Toll-Free Voice) www.disabilityrightspa.org
If you have any suggestions for a training that you think would be helpful for yourself, your child, or district staff, please contact the Special Education Department. In the meantime, please follow us on Twitter @DLSDSpecial for current events!