Infants and toddlers (up to 36 months of age) with a developmental delay or disability or who have certain risk factors are eligible for early intervention services through RCOC. Funded by the federal government, this early intervention program is called “Early Start” in California.
Early Start is an invaluable investment in the future, because the earlier a developmental delay or disability is identified, the greater impact we can have in ensuring that a child is able to achieve his or her maximum life potential. After a parent or other health care professional refers a child to RCOC, an evaluation for eligibility is completed and an assessment is conducted for program planning. The assessment process includes evaluation of the child’s motor skills, communication development, learning skills, social interaction, and emotional development. Depending on the needs of the child and the parents’ choices, early intervention services may then include, for example: an infant development program, family training, nursing, psychological services, audiology, vision screening, speech and language services, and occupational and physical therapy. Like all services provided through RCOC, the focus is on what we call “self determination” – placing the family at the center of planning and decision-making, respecting individual values, lifestyle, language and culture.
Here are several resources for families exploring early intervention:
Developmental Milestones: This checklist of “milestone” behaviors and capabilities typical for infants and toddlers can help parents and other family members recognize potential developmental concerns.
Reasons for Concern: This brochure produced by the California Department of Developmental Services, reviews factors that put a child at greater risk for developmental delay or disability, as well as warning signs and developmental milestones to help parents decide if their infant or toddler may need special help.
Comfort Connection Family Resource Center: The Comfort Connection Family Resource Center at RCOC connects families who have children with special needs to resources and support. Most of Comfort Connection’s staff are parents of children with developmental disabilities; as such, they can provide special insight to new parents who may feel overwhelmed by the challenges presented by their child’s condition.
Purchase of Service Guidelines: As with all services and supports paid for through RCOC, early intervention services are subject to Purchase of Service (POS) Guidelines adopted by the Board of Directors to ensure that RCOC exercises good stewardship of the tax dollars it spends on behalf of people with disabilities. RCOC follows these Guidelines when authorizing service requests for consumers and families.
Service Provider List: This is a comprehensive list of service providers (vendors) that are approved to provide services and supports to RCOC consumers and families. Service providers are listed according to the type of service they provide. Locations, and telephone numbers, and in some cases staffing ratios, are included.
To inquire about Early Start of apply for services, call RCOC’s Intake and Assessment Department at 714-796-5354 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.