Child Development

Sometimes, parents have concerns over their children’s development. They wonder if their children are achieving the developmental milestones on time.  Often parents feel unsure of what developmental milestones their children should be achieving and at what age they should achieve them by.  Here are some common activities that your child should be able to perform during different stages of development: Children don’t always develop on the exact same schedule, but if you have concerns about your child’s development, it cannot hurt to speak with your child’s doctor about your concerns.  You can also call the early intervention office in your area (contact numbers below) to have an evaluation performed. Early Intervention Early Intervention is a federal program that is administered in New Jersey by the Early Intervention Office in the Department of Health and Senior Services and is mandated by Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Early Intervention services are provided for eligible children until the age of 3.  In New Jersey, a child is considered eligible for services if he or she has at least a 33% delay in one and/or a 25% delay in two or more of the following developmental areas: Most children that are diagnosed with autism/PDD experience significant delays in many of these areas and therefore will most likely be determined to be eligible for early intervention services. A parent who is interested in accessing early intervention should contact The New Jersey Early Intervention System (NJEIS) at its toll free number 888-653-4463.  A service coordinator will talk with families about their concerns and can offer referral information.  If a developmental evaluation is needed, the service coordinator will work with the family to schedule a multi-disciplinary evaluation of their child’s developmental levels and needs.  Evaluation and assessment services are provided at public expense with no cost to parents. On September 8, 2001, the Initial Uniform Application Act took effect.  It requires that an individual with a developmental disability, who may be eligible for services through the Early Intervention Office, the Division of Developmental Disabilities, or the Department of Special Education, make an initial uniform application for the determination of eligibility with the department responsible for providing the services being requested at the time of application. This initial application will be accepted and used by all departments, as authorized by the applicant’s consent, for each subsequent request for services. Eligibility for services in one department does not guarantee eligibility for services from another department.  With each service requested, the providing department may require additional information.  The first agency contacted will forward applications to the other agencies if they have services of interest to a family.  Families must contact each agency directly to request services. Click here to visit the New Jersey Early Intervention System web site. State Wide Toll Free Referral Number 888-653-4463 Effective July 1, 2008 the NJEIS regionalized the system point of entry (SPOE) for referral of children, birth to age three, with developmental delays and disabilities. This toll free number replaced the direct referral for early intervention through 21 county numbers. Families and primary referral sources only need to call 1-888-653-4463 to refer a child to the NJEIS. The Early Intervention System (EIS), under the Department of Health & Senior Services, implements New Jersey’s statewide system of services for infants and toddlers, birth to age three, with developmental delays or disabilities, and their families. Following the evaluation and assessment process, an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) is written at a meeting with the family, the service coordinator, at least one member of the evaluation team and anyone else the family wishes to include.  The IFSP is a written document that identifies services and supports needed for the child and family.  It is based on information collected from the family, as well as from the evaluation and assessment. In order for the child to receive services, the parent must consent to the plan.  Parents have the right to withdraw consent at any time.  Out of the services offered, parents can reject some services and accept others.  The plan is reviewed every six months, or more frequently as appropriate to make sure it continues to meet the needs of the child and family.  At least once a year, parents participate in a meeting to review their child’s outcomes and IFSP services for any changes needed.  The meeting must be held at a time and location that is agreeable to the family and in the language or method of communication that is used in their home. Children who are found eligible can receive the following services. These services are not mandated by law to be provided:

  • Assessment
  • Assistive Technology
  • Audiology Services
  • Family Training and Counseling
  • Health Services
  • Medical Services
  • Nutrition
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Speech/Language Pathology
  • Physical Therapy
  • Psychological Services
  • Service Coordination
  • Social Work Services
  • Special Instruction
  • Nursing Services
  • Transportation
  • Vision Services

Click here to learn more about these additional topics: Transition to Preschool Financial Contributions for Early Intervention Your Rights and other Helpful Hints DDD and Early Intervention