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From their first smile to their first steps, watching your child grow and develop is one of the many joys of parenting. Children develop at different paces, and there is no right or wrong way for your child to grow. However, if you suspect that your infant or toddler, up to three years of age, is not hitting their expected developmental milestones, the New Jersey Early Intervention System (NJEIS) is a resource to help you support your child’s developmental progress.
The first three years of a child’s life are important, formative years which lay the foundation in maximizing a child’s future potential. During this critical time, your child is learning social emotional and other fundamental developmental skills needed to flourish. The brain is extremely malleable during this window of time. When developmental problems are identified early, timely intervention can mitigate or eliminate the long-term effects on a child’s development.
Minding Your Child’s Milestones
Developmental milestones serve as checkpoints for you to monitor your child’s social-emotional, motor, sensory, cognitive, communication, and adaptive/self-help skills as they grow. If you feel that your child is not meeting the expected milestones like sitting independently, walking, and talking, it is important to discuss your concerns with your child’s pediatrician. Families can use the milestone checklist as a resource to guide your discussion with your child’s pediatrician.
NJ Early Intervention Services
New Jersey Early Intervention Services (NJEIS) uses family-centered practices to equip parents with the knowledge and skills to support their children’s special needs and enhance children’s developmental progress. All services are provided in the child’s natural environment, such as the home or childcare. An evaluation, which is at no cost to families, will determine if your child is eligible for NJ Early Intervention services. If so, a coordinator will be assigned to your child on an ongoing basis. An Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) is developed by the IFSP Team of which the family is an integral part of. The IFSP Plan is a progress plan that develops child and family measurable, functional outcomes based on family priorities and concerns. The IFSP identifies supports and services that NJEIS will provide the family to assist them in enhancing their child’s development.
NJ Early intervention providers (EIPs), like Inspira Health, are contracted agencies that offer NJEIS services. Services include, but are not limited to:
- Developmental Intervention
- Speech therapy
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Social work
- Family training
To schedule an early intervention evaluation, call the NJ Intervention Early Statewide Toll Free Referral Number at 1-888-653-4464.