There is nothing more disconcerting than when you discover your child might have a special need and have no clue as to where to turn for help. It is an unraveling and exasperating emotion as you move through the roller coaster queries of why me, why my kid, what type of future will my child have, where do I go to get help, and how much will it cost me? Yes, it is an isolating and frustrating experience but, once you dismount the roller coaster and move toward the exit of acceptance pick up a phone dial 311 and asked about the “Early Intervention” program. This program is administered under the city of New York Department of Health & Mental Hygiene.
Early Intervention program
Once you are in contact with this specialty department do not be deterred by deadlines or restrictions instead hold on and fight, fight hard for your child. The Early Intervention (EI) program was established for your special needs child and understands the need for the proper care of children with disabilities. EI was signed into law by Governor Cuomo on September 17 1992, emanating from the Individual Disabilities Education Act (Public Law 99-457) voted for by congress in 1986. The law entitles infants and two year olds to a broad base of rehabilitative support. Today, the EI program in New York extended the age limit to three year olds.
Early Intervention program philosophy
The professionals in the Early Intervention program refer to children with special needs as children with “developmental delays”. This phrase is a compelling identifier which indicates a level of sensitivity to the individual child and connotes the potential for growth. The program’s philosophy is that immediate diagnosis and intercession will minimize learning impediments in some children. Regrettably, the professional skills and service provided via this program will be confined to genetic design of each child but, whatever the “developmental delays” the program exist as help for you and your child regardless of race, culture, or economic status.
To get help a referral form can be initiated by a doctor, a social worker, a daycare, a surrogate, and in no particular order a parent. Mom, Dad you are not alone in your struggle to education your special needs child there is help just reach out and grab what is needed because regardless of the labels placed on children, “normal” or “special needs”, their future depend on how much and how long parents are willing to fight for it.
This is the first part of a series of articles on New York City’s special education process from infancy to school age.