By Sarah Taylor Vanover
W ith 15 years experience in the field of early childhood education, many of those years focusing on early childhood special education, I have fielded questions that parents frequently ask when they have concerns about their children’s development.
Question: How do I find out if my child has a developmental delay?
Answer: I always encourage families to start by taking their questions to their child’s pediatrician.
If the pediatrician agrees with your concerns, then you have several options.
If the child is under 3 years old, you can contact First Steps, an early intervention agency that will treat the child in the natural environment.
For children over the age 3, you can seek therapy support from a private organization.
(Child Development Center of the Bluegrass, Lexington Hearing and Speech, Cardinal Hill Pediatrics, Horn, Richardson & Associates, etc.), or you can see whether your preschool-aged child qualifies for Kentucky State Preschool through your local public school district.
Question: If my child receives therapy from First Steps or another organization, what type of accommodations can I expect a child care program to make?
Answer: The most common accommodation for a child with special needs who attends child care is for the center/classroom teachers to collaborate with the therapists.
A First Steps therapist may visit your child at his or her child care program to observe peer interaction.
The therapist may send suggestions to the classroom teacher on ways to interact with the child while he or she is in child care.
Other accommodations may include using picture schedules in the classroom, creating a more sensory-friendly environment for the child, or adapting program policies that require children to be toilet-trained or walking before they can move to the next classroom with similar-aged peers.
Question: Will anyone find out that my child has a disability?
Answer: When your child receives therapy services, she is protected by the confidentiality laws of HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).
Therapists will share information with no one without your consent.
However, if your child is in childcare, it is extremely helpful to let the classroom teachers know the areas of delay and what types of goals the therapist is working toward.
This will allow everyone on your child’s “team” to be working together for the benefit of the child.
Sarah Taylor Vanover is the Executive Director of Child Development Center of the Bluegrass in Lexington.
She received her Master’s Degree in Special Education, Early Childhood Education from Eastern Kentucky University and her Bachelor of Science in Family Studies from the University of Kentucky.
Info: 218-2322 or visit www.cdcbg.org