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Early Intervention for children from birth to age three and their families is a joint effort of the Cuyahoga County Board of DD and Help Me Grow.
Once a child is determined eligible for services, a team of early intervention professionals will support the child and family. Members of the team include a Help Me Grow service coordinator and an occupational therapist, a physical therapist, a speech-language pathologist and a developmental specialist from the Cuyahoga County Board of DD.
One of the above team members serves as the primary service provider. This professional visits the parents and child in their home or other places where they regularly spend time. At each visit, the family and the primary service provider work together to support the child’s development during everyday activities. The primary service provider consults with other team members as needed, and those other team members may join in the visits with the child and family.
The service coordinator is the team member who helps guide the parents through services. He or she learns about the family, its daily activities and its hopes and priorities for the child. He or she listens to the parents' goals for their child, helps to put needed services in place and monitors the child’s progress on the individualized family service plan (IFSP). The service coordinator also helps the family through the eligibility process, schedules evaluations and assessments of the child and works with the primary service provider and other team members to ensure a smooth delivery of services.
- Talks with the primary service provider (and other team members, as needed) about its interests, priorities, needs and questions so together they can identify practical solutions to the challenges that impact day-to-day lives.
- Determines success based on how the child’s progress fits with what is important to the parents.
- Benefits from the knowledge and expertise of the entire team through a coaching approach. (The professionals on the team support parents in their role as the child’s most important teacher rather than playing that role themselves.)
- Is an equal partner in the team, and plays the most important role in the child’s learning and development.
- Respects that parents know their child better than anyone and that a child learns best from the parents and other familiar people in places where he or she naturally spends time.
- Welcomes the participation of family, friends and other people who regularly support the child’s learning and development.
- Meets to discuss how to best serve the family. Parents can choose to participate in person or by phone, if they prefer.
- Learns from the expertise of each member to help meet outcomes that lead to meaningful improvements in the family’s life.