By Early Learning Program Staff
Eighty percent of brain development happens in the first three years of life. When a child appears to be delayed, or at risk for delays, the earlier an evaluation and/or intervention can begin, the better. Early Intervention programs can offer a array of services to families. These services can support families in a variety of emotional and physical ways. Our interventionists have extensive training in supporting families across a variety of disciplines. Our job is not to work with the child directly on a regular basis, but to work with parents in teaching strategies that can be embedded into daily schedules to support development.
Who to Refer
The State of Alaska identifies several risk factors that can interfere with healthy development. You can refer families that fall under one or more of these risk factors for a screening or evaluation:
- abnormal neurological exam
- abnormal tone
- suspected abuse (physical, sexual, neglect)
- birth weight below 2500 grams (5.5 pounds)
- birth trauma
- substance abuse in the home
- chronic lung disorders
- family unable to meet essential needs
- prematurity (less than 35 weeks)
- heart conditions
- inadequate health care
- domestic violence in the home
- family isolation/lack of support
- maternal drug use evident at birth
- foster care
- chronic illness
- teenage parents
- orthopedic problems
- limited or unknown prenatal care
- medical personnel and/or parental concern with development
- low Apgar scores
How to Refer
There are several ways you can send a referral to the Early Learning Program. Here is a list in no particular order of preference…
- Phone the local office (Ketchikan 907.225.7825, Prince of Wales 907.826.3891) and ask to speak to someone in the Early Learning Office.
- Use a referral form from your office or one from the Early Learning Program and fax to our office, 907-826-3892 POW and 907-225-1541 Ketchikan and Metlakatla.
- Give a brochure/phone number to the family to call us.
- Sign up for our Watch Me Grow program by calling us. This is a developmental checklist that comes at regular intervals and can be filled out on-line or through the mail.