The Birth to Three System is part of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) Part C “Early Intervention.” In Connecticut, community-based programs support families to enhance their child’s development and connect to their communities.
Who’s eligible for Birth to Three services?
Children in Connecticut are eligible if they are under 3 years old and either:
- Have a significant developmental delay based on a standardized test, or
- Have a diagnosis of a medical condition that’s likely to result in a developmental delay
Anyone can make a referral, but families must consent to the eligibility evaluation. Most families are referred to Birth to Three by their child’s primary health care provider but this isn’t required.
How do Birth to Three teams determine if a child is eligible?
A professional evaluation team meets with the parent and child where the family lives. Together, they evaluate the child’s strengths and needs, often using one or more standardized tests.
The team — which includes a parent — will evaluate all areas of development, regardless of the reason for the referral. These areas include:
- Cognitive skills — problem solving, memory, learning
- Communication skills — understanding and expressing ideas, following directions, pointing, talking
- Social or emotional behaviors — relationships and expressing emotions
- Physical development — seeing, hearing, movements and health
- Adaptive skills — self-help or daily living skills
If a child is 16 months or older, they will also be screened for autism.
What kinds of supports do Birth to Three programs provide?
Each family with an eligible child will be offered an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) that is tailored to the family’s priorities and daily activities. Supports are offered using:
- Service coordination
- Coaching as a style of interaction
- Natural learning environment practices
- A primary service provider approach to teaming
Teams can include practitioners from a variety of disciplines as needed to address the family’s outcomes for their children, including:
- Speech-language pathology
- Developmental therapy (teachers)
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Social work
Early Intervention supports are usually provided in the home, but they can also be provided in childcare settings or other settings that are natural for the child and family.
Do families pay for Birth to Three supports?
The cost to support families referred to the Birth to Three System is entirely covered by state and federal funds, Medicaid and commercial insurance.
For more information, visit the Birth to Three website or call 1-800-505-7000.