On Dec. 21, New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) held a press event in Long Island City to talk about the city’s Early Intervention Program — and how it helps families across the five boroughs provide vital services for children with developmental or learning disabilities.
Centered around New York City’s youth, the Early Intervention Program provides services to infants and toddlers under the age of three who are exhibiting signs of developmental delays or disabilities.
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Funded by the state, the program is designed to help young children reach their full potential and achieve developmental milestones by providing support to families and caregivers. The program is available to all children who reside in New York City — regardless of race, ethnicity, income, disability, or immigration status. All online or in-person programs are free of charge.
“We provide services to children and their families in an effort to help them realize their full potential,” said Lidiya Lednyak, Assistant Director of Early Childhood Treatment at the city’s Municipal Health Bureau.
“Studies show that a third of children who receive early care services go on to live wonderful, full lives and will not require special education,” Lednayk said. “Once a person turns three years old, the structure of the brain does not change; but before that, real change is possible — which is why the Early Intervention Program has an impact.”
“We have seen some of our program graduates go off to college, or graduate school. And now many of them are providers in early intervention and leading wonderful lives in New York City,” Lednayk said.
Curated to fit each child’s needs
Designed to be family-centered, the program focuses on meeting the individual needs of each child and their family.
Program Director and Vice President of the Joy Agency, Pei Ling Pisciotta, shared with Vision Times staff that she enrolled her son Ethan in the program after becoming concerned that he was still non-vocal at the age of two.
Ling Pisciotta, who co-hosted the event, said Ethan’s behavior “changed significantly in just one month,” after signing up with the program, and that he has gone on to graduate with a Bachelors degree in Psychology from Brooklyn College. Pisciotta said her son is now pursuing a master’s degree in special education at CUNY Hunter.
The DOHMH pointed out that only 29 percent of Asian parents residing in the city know about access to these programs — which is much lower than other ethnic groups — with the number of first-generation immigrants enrolling their children in the morning care program is even smaller.
- Developmental evaluations: These evaluations are conducted by trained professionals who assess a child’s developmental progress and identify any delays or disabilities.
- Family support and education: The program provides support and education to families and caregivers to help them understand their child’s developmental needs and how to support their child’s development.
- Service coordination: The program coordinates services for children and families, including occupational, physical, and speech therapy.
- Special instruction: The program provides special instruction and support to help children reach their developmental milestones and achieve their full potential.
As an important resource for families with young children, the Early Intervention Program is designed to help children achieve their developmental milestones. By working closely with families and caregivers, the program helps to ensure that children have the best possible start early on in life.
All residents within the city’s five boroughs: Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Staten Island, and Manhattan, can apply, and make referrals — regardless of immigration status.
Note that health insurance, including Medicaid, may be used to pay for Early Intervention services at no direct cost to you, and won’t impact healthcare benefits.
For more information on the programs, eligibility requirements, and how to enroll, go to the NYC Health website, or call 311 and inquire about Early Intervention.