Ages Birth to Three
The Early Development Network is an organization that offers free services for children up to three-years-old and their families to monitor developmental milestones. Supported by the Nebraska Department of Education and the Nebraska Health and Human Services System, the goal of the Early Development Network is to provide coordinated services for Nebraska families as conveniently as possible.
The program helps families to understand their child’s disability and provides assistance in dealing with situations that interfere with the child’s development. Families may choose a particular service or all services. Families also may refuse services at any time. 1
The Early Development Network provides family-centered services, based on the special needs of each child and family. Services that may be provided to children and families include, but are not limited to:
- Services coordination
- Special instruction
- Speech/language therapy
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Psychological services
- Assistive technology devices & services
- Vision services 1
To the greatest extent possible, early intervention services must be provided in a familiar environment, such as home and community settings, where children without disabilities also interact. For example, a child, aged birth to three, who is in day care should receive early intervention services there, if at all possible. Services should only be provided in an unfamiliar environment when early intervention cannot be achieved otherwise. 2
Understanding the Early Development Network Process
A referral may be made by anyone concerned about the child’s development (e.g. a family member, child care provider, physician, social worker or service provider). The call goes to a Services Coordinator, who contacts the family within seven days to determine if they are interested in Early Development Network services.
With the family’s permission, the Services Coordinator arranges for an assessment with the local school district to determine the unique needs of the child and his or her eligibility. The Services Coordinator can link the family with community resources before the assessment if needed. If the child qualifies, the Services Coordinator identifies others who can participate on a team to help the family develop an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). The IFSP is completed within 45 days, so the family can access Early Development Network services as quickly as possible. Click here for more information about the IFSP.
Referrals and questions regarding services for infants and toddlers birth to three-years-old with disabilities should be made to the local Early Development Network Referral Agency of the child/family. 1
1 Reach Resources to enhance the abilities of our children, “Early Development Network,” n.d.
http://www.preventionpathways.org/Partnerships/REACH/Early_Development_Network.htm (29 November 2008)
2 Nebraska Departments of Education and Health and Human Services, “System of Early Intervention Natural Environments…where children spend their time,” Volume. 1 (February 2000)
http://www.nde.state.ne.us/edn/Volume1.pdf (29, November 2008)