ChesterCountyMedicineSpring2019 - 9

Chester County's

Early Intervention for
Infants and Toddlers

elcoming a new baby into the family is one of life's

Genetic conditions, such as Down Syndrome, come with a

most significant milestones, filled with anticipation,

high probability of developmental delays and qualify a child for EI

hope and joy. But when a child is born with

Services. Infants and toddlers may be eligible for EI in other ways

developmental disabilities, or soon shows signs of developmental

as well. Chester County residents may also qualify based on an

delays, the family may feel thrust on a new and unexpected

informed clinical opinion. This option is often used when there are

journey. That's when Infant/Toddler Early Intervention Services

concerns, such as feeding issues, that have no current assessment

can help.

tools. Finally, a child may qualify for EI by meeting diagnostic

Lea Quinn, a Chemistry teacher in the Downingtown Area
School District, and her husband John, a computer programmer,
first learned about Early Intervention (EI) Services in the second

criteria from a standardized evaluation. There is no income
requirement for families to be eligible.
The process begins with a phone call and an initial screening.

trimester of Lea's pregnancy last spring. The Phoenixville couple

Even if the screening doesn't indicate there are concerns, the

had just found out that the son they were expecting had Down

family has the option to go through the full evaluation to look at


the child's cognitive, physical, social/emotional, communication

"When we first got the diagnosis, the doctors tried to educate
us," Quinn said. "I was told about Early Intervention at that
time, but it didn't really register. There was so much happening; I
couldn't digest all the information."
It didn't take long for the young family to discover the value
and benefits of Early Intervention. Because of Aiden's Down
Syndrome diagnosis, he qualified for services at birth. His family
soon began working with a team. These professionals may include
speech, occupational and physical therapists, vision and hearing
specialists, nutritionists, nurses and social workers. EI services for
the youngest children, from birth to age three, are delivered at no
cost to the family in the child's natural environment, at home or in
a daycare setting.

and adaptive (eating, sleeping, dressing) development. Once the
evaluation is scored, the team considers the family's priorities and
goals to create a service plan. Because EI builds on the natural
learning that occurs in the first few years, it promotes collaboration
among parents, service providers and others involved with the
Lori Gallagher is the Director of Chester County's Infant/
Toddler EI Services. She stresses that EI is more than just helping
the child, but supporting and involving the entire family. EI for
infants and toddlers is about coaching the parents and caregivers to
use strategies in everyday routines and activities they do as a family.
continued on next page >

SPRING 2019 | CHESTER COUNT Y Medicine 9


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