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Early Intervention

The Early Intervention program works in partnership with families to promote the growth and development of infants and toddlers. The program helps children from birth to three years of age who have or may have a disability, are experiencing developmental delay, or are at risk for significant developmental problems.

Any caring individual-a parent, pediatrician, child-care provider, or birth hospital-may refer a child. A child may be referred due to a diagnosed condition or a concern regarding developmental delay. Whatever the reason, we are here to support a family to help their child reach his/her fullest potential!

In order to provide the best services possible, we believe whole-heartedly in the following guiding principals:

A parent/guardian is a child’s first and most important teacher! We appreciate and respect a family’s individuality, values, beliefs and cultural practices and will work diligently to provide services that are respectful of a family’s values. Incorporating strategies into a child’s natural environments, meaning every day life routines (i.e., play time, meal time, play time), activities (i.e., going to the playground, grocery shopping) and places (i.e., his/her home, child-care center, library) allows a family and child opportunities for practice and success.

Once a child is referred, a professional will meet with the family at their home to gather information about their concerns and schedule a developmental evaluation. During a play-based developmental evaluation, we assess a child’s problem solving, motor, communication, self-help, and social/emotional skills, in addition to any health and family needs. We pay close attention to any specific areas that a family has concerns about.

When the evaluation is completed, we immediately discuss the results with the family. Together, with the family, we determine if the child would benefit from Early Intervention services. If services are needed, we discuss what outcomes (goals) the family would like to achieve. These outcomes are written into a child’s Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). The IFSP becomes the working document that drives the work that we do.

The Early Intervention program consists of a multidisciplinary team of professionals including, but not limited to, early childhood educators, dieticians, occupational therapists, physical therapists, registered nurses, service coordinators, social workers, special educators, speech and language pathologists. A child may receive any one or more of these professionals working with them and their family. A family may also receive additional services outside of the Early Intervention program. Our role is to ensure that a child and family receive any services that will help to support them.

There is no cost to families for Early Intervention services. Services are covered through your child’s medical insurance or through the RI Department of Human Services, which is the state agency that oversees the Early Intervention program.

Early Intervention is a wonderful program that will work diligently to meet a child’s and family’s individualized needs. At the same time, we work towards the following overall outcomes for all children and families:

All children will:

  • Have positive social relationships.
  • Acquire and use knowledge and skills.
  • Take appropriate action to meet their needs.

All families will:

  • Understand their children’s strengths, abilities, and special needs.
  • Know their rights and effectively communicate their children’s needs.
  • Help their children develop and learn.
  • Feel they have adequate social support.
  • Be able to access services and activities that are available to all families in their communities.

For more information about early intervention services at Children’s Friend or to make a referral, contact Natalie Redfearn, Manager, Early Intervention at (401) 721-9294 or nredfearn@cfsri.org or Christine Crohan, Supervisor, Early Intervention at (401) 721-9229 or ccrohan@cfsri.org


153 Summer Street
Providence, RI 02903
401.276.4300 phone
401.331.3285 fax

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