Early Childhood Intervention Programs
A variety of services providers across BC, including Indigenous organizations are contracted to provide early childhood intervention services for infants and young children who show signs of -- or who are at risk of having - a developmental delay or disability. These services are tailored to the specific needs of each child and family with the goal of enhancing the child’s foundational development. Children and families can be referred to the following programs by their public health nurse or physician; families may also connect with a local service provider directly to find out if they may be eligible for one of the following services:
Infant Development Program and Aboriginal Infant Development Program
Both the Infant Development Program and the Aboriginal Infant Development Program provide home-based prevention and early intervention services to infants and young children up to three years of age. Consultants assist families in acquiring the tools, skills and community connections needed to promote optimal child development and support developmental challenges. To find a program in your area, ask your public health nurse or physician.
The Aboriginal Infant Development Program also includes activities and materials that reflect local Indigenous cultures, customs, beliefs and values. To find a program in your area, visit https://aidp.bc.ca/ or ask your public health nurse or community health nurse.
Depending on the needs of the child, Infant Development Consultants and Aboriginal Infant Development Consultants may help link families with other services, including Supported Child Development, Aboriginal Supported Child Development, and Early Intervention Therapy.
Supported Child Development and Aboriginal Supported Child Development
Supported Child Development and Aboriginal Supported Child Development are community-based programs that offer a range of consulting and support services to children, families and child care centres so that children with extra support needs can participate in fully inclusive child care settings. The Aboriginal Supported Child Development program provides these supports in a culturally relevant and meaningful way.
To find a Supported Child Development Program in your area, ask your public health nurse or physician, or contact your local Ministry of Children and Family Development office.
To find an Aboriginal Supported Child Development Program in your area, visit http://ascdp.bc.ca/ or ask your public health nurse.
Early Intervention Therapy
The Early Intervention Therapy (EIT) Program provides community-based occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech-language pathology and support services for eligible children and their families. These services support optimal growth and development for children who have – or who are at risk of – developmental delay or disability. These services are provided from birth up to school entry.
Early Intervention Therapy services may include screening, referral, assessment, family education and support, service planning, direct therapeutic intervention, consultation, monitoring, transition planning to school, and training of community members. These services are provided in home and community settings, such as preschool and child-care centres. The EIT Program accepts referrals from all sources, including families and professionals involved with the child and family, such as pediatricians, physicians, public health nurses, child care providers, or other professionals. Referral from a professional should be based on clinical judgment or an informal screening process, whereby the presence of a potential delay or disability is established. If the family is not the referral source, their permission must be sought prior to initiating the referral.
To find an Early Intervention Therapy Program in your area, ask your public health nurse or physician, or contact your local Ministry of Children and Family Development office. Public health units provide public health speech and language services to preschool children – typically those with a primary speech or language delay who do not require occupational therapy or physiotherapy services.