UCP of Huntsville & Tennessee Valley, Inc. is a member of the Alabama Early Intervention System, a program of Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services. Early Intervention (EI) is strictly voluntary on the part of the child’s family and no fees are charged for services provided. To be eligible for services, the child must have a >25% delay in one or more developmental areas (physical, communication, cognitive, adaptive, social-emotional), or have a diagnosed condition that is likely to result in a developmental delay (such as Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Spina Bifida, Down Syndrome, extreme prematurity, and a number of other diagnoses).
A Service Coordinator is made available for families who qualify to help identify concerns, priorities, and goals for their child. The primary goal of all service coordinators is to assist families in identifying and planning for needed supports and services. UCP Service Coordinators will conduct an in-depth interview centered around the family’s routines. Examples of routines include waking up, meal and snack times, changing diapers, playtime, naptime, running errands, bedtime, and everything else that happens throughout the day. The Service Coordinator will discuss aspects of the child’s development with the family that they feel would help them in their daily routine, and assist the family in developing functional goals as part of their child’s plan. For example, a parent may feel that it would be helpful at meal time if the child could feed themselves so that his or her mother could eat at the table with the rest of the family. The Service Coordinator will also assist the family in deciding on which person(s) would be the most appropriate service provider(s). Team members may include a Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Speech-Language Pathologist, or Special Instructor (a person with education and training related to early childhood development and/or disabilities). EI services are provided in the child’s “natural environment”, which is where ever a child would normally be during the day. UCP service providers see children at home, daycare, playgrounds, and other locations. Clinic visits to a Therapy Center are not considered to be EI visits. Services through EI are also not considered “therapy”, but rather family training. While the service provider may be a therapist who provides the intervention, the emphasis is on coaching and modeling appropriate techniques. Parental/caregiver participation is key in achieving goals as set by the family.
The child’s progress is evaluated periodically and services continue until the child no longer qualifies, the family no longer has any concerns, or he or she turns three. As a child approaches three years of age, the Service Coordinator will discuss available options with the family and facilitate any necessary planning meetings. These options may include public school system preschool, private preschool, private therapy, Head Start, home care, or other appropriate placements. If further therapy services are needed after the child turns three, he or she could continue with UCP’s Outpatient Therapy program, which requires physician referral and billing of insurance or Medicaid.
Referrals to Early Intervention are accepted directly from parents, physicians, and others. You may call UCP at 256-852-5600 to make a referral, or you may contact the Alabama Child Find toll-free number at 1-800-543-3098.
In conjunction with the Early Intervention program, UCP offers two separate developmental Playgroups for children ages 1-3 years and 2 ½-4 years. These Playgroups provide children with enjoyable learning experiences such as circle time, arts and crafts, music, stories and snack time. Be sure to visit the Playgroup page on our website for information.
For more information about our Early Intervention program, please contact UCP’s Early Intervention Program Manager, Nikki Thompson, at 256-852-5600 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.