Help Me Grow offers support for parents

The early years with young children are typically filled with excitement and change. Every day brings new experiences and new growth. The little ones change very quickly as they develop from the time of their birth and move toward school entry. At times, there are children who need help from others for them to be able to grow and learn. There are programs in place especially for those children.

Help Me Grow is the way to access those programs that can offer support for parents and other concerned adults when they notice that their child may not be achieving developmental milestones at the typical rate.

There is free help that is available to young children between the ages of birth and 5 years of age who are showing delays in their development. Early intervention services that are available include special instruction, physical, occupational and speech therapy, vision and hearing services. Information for family members on how to support their child’s development is also provided as part of the program. For very young children up to age 3, services are typically provided in the home with the early intervention team working very closely with parents and caregivers.

For children between 3 years of age and kindergarten entry, services are typically provided in an early childhood/preschool setting within the community. Help at an early age can have a huge impact in a child’s long term development. That is why early identification is so important.

If you have concerns about your young child’s development, there are services in place to help. A referral can be made to the local early intervention program. Early intervention specialists can evaluate your child to determine whether or not the child is eligible to receive services. Once a child is deemed eligible, an educational plan is developed by the early intervention specialists and parents together to meet the child’s needs.

A referral can be made in a variety of ways, and each will reach the appropriate local early childhood program. The state Help Me Grow referral phone line is 1-866-693-4769. A referral can also be made online at www.mnparentsknow.com. People in Mower County can contact the Central Point of Intake for Mower County directly by calling 507-460-1705. Once a referral has been received, an early interventionist will contact the child’s parents and initiate the screening/evaluation process.

There are services available for young children with special needs in Mower County. Help Me Grow provides the contact to begin the process toward getting those services in place. Please call Pam Anfinson, Early Childhood Special Education case facilitator, at 507-460-1705 with any questions you might have about your child or about the process.

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