Is your child missing important developmental milestones? Macomb County’s Early On program offers critical support that may help them to catch up on the skills and be better prepared for educational success.
Early On is a comprehensive early intervention program that provides an array of family services to help support kids from birth to 3 years of age who either have developmental delays or diagnosed conditions that may lead to delays.
It is designed to help families to find the social, health and educational services that will promote the development of their infants and toddlers.
“The work of Early On is critical to assist with development needs of infants and toddlers,” says Justin Michalak, the Assistant Superintendent for Special Education and Student Services with the Macomb Intermediate School District.
“Once you have identified a developmental delay, parents may not know what to do — or they may not know what a child should be able to do at three months, six months or a year. Early On gets parents the support they need and children the services they need to help support their developmental milestones.”
How to get started
In order to participate in Early On, a healthcare provider may provide a referral for the child to receive support for a diagnosed physical or mental condition.
Families with concerns about delayed milestones such as sitting up or rolling over may contact the MISD to request an assessment with a family intake coordinator.
Children accepted into the program are provided with services that best align with their needs. These services can range from speech, physical or occupational therapy, to appointments with a psychologist and much more.
There’s even programming for parents so that they know how to address their child’s specific needs.
“Early On provides services and coaching to parents which helps them meet their child’s developmental needs,” Michalak explains. “It really depends on what the child needs, but services and coaching can cover anything from assisting with feeding needs to gross motor skills, sensory integration, and much more — the team works to help the parents understand their child’s overall development and how to meet their needs.”
Services and workshops through Early On are provided in an educational setting or in the child’s natural environment such as the child’s home or daycare. Depending on a child’s individual needs, services may be adjusted or added at any point.
“A child may qualify for speech when they first start and then our professional team may notice that there are other services that might be beneficial too,” Michalak adds. “We also meet with the family every six months to discuss the child’s progress, so it’s an evolving and continuing process.”
What happens after year 3?
The Early On program ends after a child turns 3, but that doesn’t mean the support comes to an end.
According to Michalak, there are several options for kindergarten-aged kids and older to continue their services.
“In addition to Early On we have Michigan Mandatory Special Education (MMSE), which provides more intense services for the youngster,” he explains.
Some kids may not require services beyond Early On or MMSE, but those who do can transfer the work that they’ve done through Early On to their home district where they will continue their services through an Individualized Education Program (IEP).
“Early On gives our kids the early services they need in order to give them a strong foundation to help them to succeed,” Michalak says. “Ultimately, it helps them academically, physically, social-emotionally in their overall development as they grow educationally.”
For more information about Early On programming in Macomb County, including how to request an assessment, visit the Macomb County Intermediate School District’s website — and for more information about Macomb County, visit Make Macomb Your Home.