AzEIP Referral Tucson
It can be difficult for a family when a child diagnosed with a disability or when a family realizes their child may not be developing typically and is in need of extra support. There is somewhere for families to turn in Arizona: the Arizona Early Intervention Program in Tucson and Azeip Referral. And, yes, there is good reason to intervene this early – your child’s long-term successes may depend on it.
- When children are diagnosed when they are school age (4 years -18 years-old) intervention often comes from teachers and school therapists.
- But what about children who are diagnosed younger, from birth to 3 years old? Where do families turn for early intervention? AzEIP.
What is AzEIP and Early Intervention?
“Early interventions” are services for the young, including the very young (birth to 3 years old), aimed to “intervene” by supporting growth and skill development where there is a suspected delay in development. It is “early” because the goal is to provide services as young as possible.
In short, early intervention is assistance that child development specialists provide to children, as young as birth, once a need has been determined.
Examples of Arizona Early Intervention Program support include help with:
- Language development
- Potty training
- Social skills, such as sharing
The goal of the Arizona Early Intervention Program for Infants and Toddlers is to provide the support now to help a child “catch up” so he or she will not continue to need support later.
What are DES and AHCCCS?
“DES” stands for the Arizona Department of Economic Security and is a government agency in Arizona that works with families. It is the agency that oversees many of the Arizona programs responsible for state and federal programs that target the intervention services for children and adults.
“AHCCCS” or “Access” is one of those programs. AHCCCS is the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, which is the Medicaid program in Arizona.
The “Arizona Early Intervention Program (AzEIP) is Arizona’s statewide, interagency system of supports and services for infants and toddlers with developmental delays or disabilities and their families. AzEIP partners with community providers to support families.”
Once a child has qualified, families are assigned to a community partner which is then responsible for the delivery of services based on the qualified need(s). A plan – called an Individualized Family Service Plan or IFSP – is developed. The plan outlines how each need will be addressed, what and how interventions are to take place, and the person(s) responsible for implementing the services.
Families are involved in developing and implementing the plan – because we know that families are a child’s first teacher. Each family has a team to support and augment their child’s development and learning. A typical team consists of a service coordinator, a child developmental specialist, therapist(s), and the family.
The best interventions are learning opportunities in the home based on everyday activities. This is because the best opportunity to assist with learning is in the normal environment and at the regular time of the activity. This means your support person should work with you in your home at the typical time the activity is being performed. For example, if you have a picky eater, your support person should come at mealtime. If you are receiving support for napping, support should occur at your child’s naptime.
Why is Arizona Early Intervention Program Important?
Often times families have doubts when their child is suspected of having a delay. They often ask: “He is so young, why should I worry now?” “Maybe I just wait to see if she catches up on her own?” “What could possibly be done at this young age?” And sometimes, fear plays a part. “I don’t want anyone to think less of my child.” “Does this mean that my child’s needs make me a bad parent?”
The truth is, now is the ideal time to help your child! By providing opportunities for intervention and learning early on, you are being the best parent you can be.
Research shows that learning is paramount when children are young; the younger, the better. The plasticity and capabilities of the human brain to learn when it is young are amazingly endless! Have you ever tried to learn a new language? Children who are taught multiple languages when young have it much easier than older students who try to accomplish the same.
If you wait for your child to “catch up” – without intervention – you are taking a big risk. Waiting means that you lose precious time that can never be regained. Bottom line? Intervening now won’t hurt. In fact, it is critical.
In my experience a provider of speech services to toddlers in Tucson, I have heard varying reviews of AzEIP. From good to bad. The biggest complaint from parents is that there are not enough of experienced speech-language pathologists who can work with their children on a frequent basis. A typical intervention schedule is 2-4 times a month. There are also very limited areas regionally, where there are skilled therapists available. So, if you live in an unserved region of Tucson, you are out of luck. Last, many parents do not understand the “early intervention model” which requires parents to take primary responsibility for providing therapy and not the speech-language pathologist. Many parents would like the therapist to take the primary role of providing the therapy.
What Are the Benefits of Arizona Early Intervention?
Now that you are ready to support your child’s early learning, what are the benefits of involving Arizona Early Intervention Program for infants and toddlers specialists? The most obvious benefit is their knowledge and skills. The specialists assigned to your family provide specialized therapy to your child and help you teach your own child important skills. They not only work directly with your child, they also teach you how to teach. Again, families are the first teachers of their children, so your full participation in the learning strategies is critical to your child’s success.
Your specialists may also provide an ear to listen. Times can be stressful when a child is diagnosed with a need and these specialists can help walk you through the most successful paths of helping your child catch up.
A child’s early success is critical, and the Arizona Early Intervention Program is here to help.
Worrying about a child being “labeled” with a diagnosis is valid. However, think about the benefits. This “label” provides a child with what they need to succeed. A child with diabetes should receive insulin. A child with a broken bone should get a cast. Why then should a child with a learning need be treated any differently? They shouldn’t. A need is a need, and as parents, it is our job to provide them with the support they need to be successful. For families with very young children, the Arizona Early Intervention Program provides just that support.
To request a screening, go to AzEIP online referral and complete the easy steps that will help your child catch up and succeed.