Early Intervention and Physical Therapy
What is Early Intervention?
Early intervention is an educational service offered through your state to help you and your child manage developmental delays or disabilities. The program is offered to babies and children with disabilities and/or developmental delays who are between birth and three years old. Most states offer this program for free, yes free...and if you live in TN (Tennessee Early Intervention System), I know it is free. As a pediatric physical therapist, I have worked with several families, children, and TEIS employees! Each TEIS employee, whether it be an early interventionist or a service coordinator, provides the family with educational resources, support, and guidance for their child's development in their natural environment, home, or in the community.
So how do I get this service, you ask? First of all, you can start with your pediatrician or family doctor to find out if your child has a developmental delay. Most of the time delays can be found during well check-ups. However, if you are concerned that your baby or child is not doing a certain skill (rolling, crawling, walking) or even has a flat spot on their head, please ask the pediatrician. A referral will be sent to TEIS and there will be a developmental evaluation for fine and gross motor skills and communication. If the child qualifies, then an individualized family service plan (IFSP) will be developed to help support the child and family!
Never feel bad or guilty for asking or not knowing to ask about certain things...that is what the pediatrician, TEIS employees, and therapists are here for...to support, guide, and educate!!
Physical Therapy and Early Intervention
In addition to the free early intervention services (in TN, but check with your state too), your child may also benefit from physical therapy. Physical therapy can help your baby or child with reaching similar goals on the IFSP and provide support, education, and hands on therapy (or guided through teletherapy...which Sidekick Therapy Partners has a great teletherapy platform). Pediatric physical therapists can help with gross motor skills, like rolling, sitting, standing, walking, and even positioning exercises for plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome) and torticollis (head tilts and baby prefers to look to one side).
In our sessions, with TEIS and physical therapy, we incorporate play-based learning, so it looks like we're playing, but we are definitely working on all of those "inchstones", milestones, and goals for your little one!
-Whitney Castle, PT, DPT