Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Child Find and Early Intervention

I really can’t say enough about how wonderful the Child Find Program was for Shea and our family. If there is any advice that I can share at the top it would be; if you have any concerns about your child’s development, search out the Child Find Program in your area.

What is Child Find?

“Child Find is a component of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that requires states to identify, locate, and evaluate all children with disabilities, aged birth to 21, who are in need of early intervention or special education services.”

There is a lot of good information at:

Under the umbrella of Child Find, Shea was welcomed into the Developmental Preschool program housed at our local elementary school. In the beginning, we were included in some play groups with other kids that had delays. I found networking with the teachers, specialists and other parents very helpful.

I remember this being a very sad time. I know, parents are not supposed to compare our kids to others but, honestly, it is very hard not to. I guess I was just beginning to realize that Shea was “different” and I yearned to understand what it all meant….NOW! I wanted someone to tell me what did this mean for my kid. Would he grow out of it? Would he just “get it” one day? What did I need to do as a parent to help?

More questions than answers surround times like these. And, even though the teachers and specialists were very supportive and kind, they would not even hazard a guess about prognosis. At the time, I found it very frustrating but later realized that they were in a very tough position. As soon as they predict one outcome and it doesn’t turn out that way, they are blamed. Later, as I was learning the maze that is Special Education in our public schools, I realized this was probably a necessary and perhaps legal directive and it was considered the safest way to deal with special kids and their very upset, nervous and feisty parents.

Again, I am so thankful we got referred to Child Find so early. I see it as the most important first step we make. All the pain, worry and insecurity was still there but at least we weren’t dealing with it alone anymore.

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