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About Community Programs Serving Children Birth through Two

Early Identification and Referral

About Community Programs Serving Children Birth through Two

Early Identification and Referral

This page was last updated on May 5, 2014 at 2:48 pm

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Know the System

Programs exist in most communities that are focused on supporting infants and toddlers and their families. Identifying children with disabilities is not necessarily their primary goal; however many exist to facilitate access to resources that ensure a positive start in life for very young children. Examples of organizations and agencies described by the term “community programs serving children birth through two” include, but are not limited to:

  • Early Head Start
  • Children’s Special Health Care Needs
  • Early Childhood Outreach Programs of Schools for the Blind
  • Early Childhood Outreach Programs of Schools for the Deaf
  • Private foundations and organizations formed to support children who are blind/visually impaired or deaf/hard of hearing and their families
  • Private foundations and organizations formed to support families of children who have multiple disabilities or complex health challenges
  • Disability specific organizations (e.g. United Cerebral Palsy, Easter Seals, Down Syndrome Association, the ARC)
  • Foster care and adoption agencies
  • Child Protective Services
  • Health Screening programs

Identify Potential Collaboration Opportunities

Children born into high risk situations are at greater risk for disability and may be receiving support from a program such as Early Head Start, Child and Family Services or Children’s Special Health Care Needs. Children diagnosed with a particular medical condition or syndrome and their families may be involved with disability-specific family organizations, foundations or support groups. Schools for the deaf or schools for the blind often have outreach programs focused on providing intervention services to children who have been identified with a sensory loss. Any of these organizations may be interacting with families of children who have combined vision and hearing loss without being aware of it. 

Raising awareness and knowledge within these programs about the term deaf-blindness and the diversity of infants and toddlers affected may be beneficial in increasing early identification and appropriate intervention. Cultivating relationships with a particular program or organization has resulted in strong partnerships and direct referrals to deaf-blind projects in some states and may be an effective strategy in yours.  



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