Would my child benefit from special services?




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Benefits of early diagnosis - parent denial.

Experience has proven that the earlier a child who needs services gets them, the better their chances to catch up with their peers by first grade.   Some developmental delays that can be corrected with proper services may become permanent or last considerably longer if not treated early.   Parents often experience feelings of confusion, depression or embarrassment over a child with a developmental delay and may tend to avoid getting help for their child.   It is important to overcome these feelings for the sake of your child.

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Why your child may benefit from special services.

Professional service providers have most likely seen and worked with children who have your child’s developmental delay.   They can use scientifically proven methods of working with your child to overcome the delays.   Many of the most common developmental delays in motor and speech, for example, respond well to therapy and include such alternatives as sign language.

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Signs and symptoms to look for.

All children develop on their own schedule, however, as a parent you may notice some behavior or lack of behavior by your child at various ages.   The key is to see how your child is developing for his or her age. You can view a checklist of expected progress at various ages on the New York Department of Health website.   At 1-year-old, for example, a child can be expected to sit up without help, pull himself/herself up to a standing position and be able to stand without holding on for a few seconds and crawl.   The more things your child is not doing at a specific age, the more likely he/she will benefit from special services.   Whenever you have any doubt, speak to your pediatrician and other professionals.

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Working with your child's pediatrician.

Often your pediatrician will bring something to your attention or be a good sounding board when you suspect something is not right with your child.   Pediatricians, as part of their examinations, note statistics about your child such as weight, height and reflexes and also note developmental stages.   Pediatricians are required to be aware of the early intervention and special education provisions in New York State and may be your first source for getting your child appropriate services.  

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Having your child seen by other medical specialists.

Other medical specialists can be very helpful in pinpointing your child's needs.   Such specialists might include neurologists, opthomologists, pscyologists, psychiatrists and audiologists.   Your pediatrician may refer your child to any of these specialists.   If you suspect something and your pediatrician does not refer your child to a specific specialist, do not hesitate to have your child evaluated by additional specialists on your own.   You are with your child constantly and may pick things up that a doctor may miss on a routine or quick physical examination.   The results from any specialist evaluations should be supplied to the early intervention case manager and your pediatrician for analysis.

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Having your child seen by non-medical specialists.

Non-medical specialists, like occupational therapists, physical therapists, special education teachers, speech therapists, behavior therapists and reading specialists may independently evaluate your child in their area of expertise. Your early intervention case manager, teacher, day care provider or pediatrician may refer your child to any of these specialists.   Any time you suspect something ask for the referal and do not hesitate to have your child evaluated by additional specialists on your own.   You are with your child constantly and may pick things up that others may miss.   The results from any specialist evaluations should be supplied to the early intervention case manager and your pediatrician for evaluation.

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