In this article, you’ll find answers to questions like:
1. Does the county offer help?
2. How are children monitored?
3. Who gives referrals to programs?
Do you have a child 3 or older who needs assistance with a developmental delay or disability?
1. DOES THE COUNTY OFFER HELP?
For children ages 3 to 5 and school-aged children, the Palm Beach County School District offers Child Find, which continues therapy started in other organizations' earlier programs, such as Treasure Coast's Early Steps at Easterseals Florida or The Arc of Palm Beach County’s First Step to Success. Both receive funding from Children's Services Council of Palm Beach County.
However, children are not required to enter Child Find from those earlier programs, says Kevin McCormick, director of the school district’s Exceptional Student Education program. Parents can simply call for an evaluation. If testing determines the child qualifies, the family can enroll.
2. HOW ARE CHILDREN MONITORED?
Children are re-evaluated at certain intervals in these early intervention programs to determine if they need to continue therapy. Six months before a child turns 3, specialists begin transitioning qualified children into the Child Find program.
“The Child Find program works with children as young as 3 and from K to 12,” McCormick says. “Wherever there are children who need our program, our specialists will be there."3. WHO GIVES REFERRALS TO PROGRAMS?
Dozens of sources, such as pediatricians, hospitals, child-care programs and community programs, refer children to programs such as this.
These programs have been instrumental in her family’s life, says Boca Raton resident Thea Chimenti, whose son, Chase, received therapy for cerebral palsy at J.C. Mitchell Elementary School.
“It has been such a rewarding experience, and it has taught me so much,” she says. “I really believe in what they’re doing. I don’t think Chase would have come as far as he has if not for the early intervention he got and the therapy he continues to get from these programs.”
• Kevin McCormick, director of Exceptional Student Education, Palm Beach County School District