Understanding Early Intervention

posted 1/23/24 -- What does it mean when your child’s teacher suggests a referral for further evaluation?

The early childhood years lay the foundation for all future development. LCCAA Head Start screens children to identify any potential developmental or health concerns. The sooner we can screen children, the stronger your child’s foundation will be and the more successfully he will transition to kindergarten.

When teachers or staff detect possible issues, they will refer your child for early intervention. Services may include speech or physical therapy, behavioral supports or other services based on the needs of the child and family. Intervention services can play a part in offering children and their families the support they need to reach their fullest potential.

These services are FREE and can be provided at home or in the classroom. Early intervention can be effective in helping a majority of children make progress toward achieving age-appropriate developmental milestones before entering kindergarten.

Step 1: Your child will be screened at Head Start. We check their height, weight and other developmental milestones. We also perform blood tests to check for lead exposure and have partnerships to screen for dental health and behavior issues.

Step 2: Based on the screening results, your child’s teacher may suggest further evaluation by a specialist in the field such as your pediatrician or our contracted speech pathologist or early childhood mental health consultants.

Step 3: If the specialist determines further assessment is needed, Julie Charles, Head Start Disabilities Manager will begin working with you and your local school district to create an IEP (Individual Education Plan) or IFSP (Individual Family Service Plan).

Step 4: If your child qualifies for an IEP or IFSP, you’ll be invited to a meeting with the staff from Head Start and the school district to set goals for your child and set-up intervention services.

Early Intervention empowers families to help their child reach their fullest potential. These services provide you with the tools necessary to advocate for your child’s needs.