Birth to Three System Expands Eligibility and Services
The Department of Developmental Services’ (DDS) Birth to Three System recently announced expanded eligibility guidelines and new autism-specific early intervention programs.
As part of the eligibility expansion, babies born at 28 weeks gestation or less, babies born weighing less than 1,000 grams, babies and toddlers with mild or unilateral hearing loss and toddlers with significant delays in expressive language with a biological risk factor should be referred to the Birth to Three early intervention program. These new eligibility guidelines enhance a long list of medical conditions that make a child automatically eligible for services. In addition, infants and toddlers without a diagnosis but who show a significant developmental delay can also receive early intervention supports.
The Birth to Three system also added new programs focusing on autism. In response to heightened concern surrounding effective service provision for children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and the recent Academy of Pediatrics recommendation to screen all children at 18 and 24 months of age for ASD, Birth to Three has selected six agencies to operate the new programs. These agencies will complement the ongoing services provided by 38 agencies across the state serving children with a variety of developmental delays and their families. These new programs are expected to cover 80% of the population under age three while other eligible children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder will continue to be well supported by current approved providers.
The autism-specific programs began accepting referrals on January 2, 2008. Additional information on all Birth to Three programs is available at www.birth23.org. or at 1-800-505-7000.