It takes a lot more than a toy train to keep an infant or toddler "on track." A free service from MTSU is helping parents make sure their young children are developing as they should.
The MTSU Home and Community-based Early Intervention Program provides developmental therapy for children from birth to age 3 at no cost if they qualify for the Tennessee Early Intervention System, a voluntary program administered by the Tennessee Department of Education.
TEIS is designed to assist children who are not reaching certain benchmarks as they grow, which could indicate that they are not keeping pace with their peers physically or intellectually.
To cite only a few examples, from birth to 6 months of age, youngsters should respond to voices and react to the emotions of others. From 6 to 12 months, they should respond to simple verbal requests and crawl on their hands and knees.
Children may qualify for TEIS if test results show that they have a 25 percent delay in two areas or a 40 percent delay in one area. The five major areas are communication and motor, social, adaptive and cognitive skills.
For qualified families, MTSU's early interventionists work with other professionals such as therapists and interpreters to assist children in the locations where they spend the most time, whether at home or elsewhere.
The period of birth to age 3 is a critical time to insure that children will be able to hone the skills that will help them maximize their potential as they grow, according to the Center for the Developing Child at Harvard University.
If you are concerned that a youngster might need this kind of help, call Tennessee's Early Intervention System at 1-800-852-7157. If TEIS determines the child eligible, contact MTSU's Home and Community-based Early Intervention Program at 615-494-8651 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, go to www.mtsu.edu/ontrackbaby.