FAQs – Early Intervention

How do I enroll a child in Via Early Intervention services?

In Pennsylvania, the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) administers Early Intervention through the counties’ Mental Health offices until a child’s third birthday. Via receives referrals from Lehigh and Northampton counties after a parent has contacted their county’s Early Intervention department to get their child enrolled in this program.

County service coordinators work with families to coordinate services for their child and refer them to a program like Via’s Early Intervention program. When a child turns three, the Department of Education takes over the supervision of the programs, through the Intermediate Units (IUs).

How does the Early Intervention process begin and what can I expect?

When a child qualifies for Early Intervention Services, they are assigned a service coordinator through their county Early Intervention department. The county service coordinator establishes a service plan with the family, Early Intervention specialist and caregivers, which includes desired outcomes for the child, and frequency and duration of services. Sessions are designed to include participation from caregivers so intervention therapies can continue outside of the structured session.

How much does Early Intervention cost?

Early Intervention is a state-wide program provided through Medicare. It is an entitlement program and is available to all families at no cost, regardless of household income.

What are my responsibilities as a parent or caregiver?

Early Intervention is most successful when there is a strong commitment from both therapists and families. Parent/caregiver involvement is essential for a child’s success.  Your child’s goals are often reached by using play-based, child-centered, family-friendly approaches.  Parents and/or caregivers participate in all therapy sessions. Our therapists will work with caregivers on techniques that carry over into the child’s daily activities.

Who is eligible for Early Intervention services?

Infants and Toddlers up to three years old who have:
•  A 25 percent delay in one or more areas of development
OR
•  A specialist’s determination that there is a delay even though it doesn’t show up on the assessments (called informed clinical opinion)
OR
•  A known physical or mental condition that has a high probability for developmental delays (such as Down syndrome)

What are individualized supports and services?

Early Intervention supports and services are individualized for each child and family.
The plan developed for each child and family will reflect their unique activities, values, and community participation. Services using natural routines and activities support and encourage families to find and strengthen natural supports outside the Early Intervention system. These supports, established when the child is young, are likely to remain throughout the child’s school years and into adulthood.

Where are Early Intervention Services provided? 

Early Intervention can be provided at home, in childcare, in private or public preschools, Early Head Start and Head Start, or combinations of these that the family and the team determine are the most appropriate for the child’s progress. Services and supports also change as needed.

 

For more information, contact:
Suzanne Curry, Children’s Services Coordinator
S.Curry@ViaNet.org | 610-841-5801

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COVID-19

COVID-19 UPDATE:

To comply with Governor Wolf’s mandate that non-essential businesses be closed and with guidance from the PA Office of Developmental Programs (ODP), that funds many of our programs, Small Group Employment, many Community Employment Services, Creative Expressions Adult Training Facility and Prevocational Workshop are closed for participants until the mandate is lifted. 

However, ODP has determined that home and community-based services are considered life-sustaining and are exempt from the Governor’s directive asking for the closure of all non-essential businesses.  Therefore, Via will provide limited Community Participation supports, In-Home services and Behavioral Support services.  As we learn more from ODP, coordinators will reach out to participants about services that are available.  We are reaching out to Via staff now to determine who can provide these services. 

Coordinators are working remotely and are available by email or phone to answer your questions.  Please contact your coordinator by email or phone if you need anything or email Via@ViaNet.org.