How can the Early Development Network help?
The Early Development Network provides services and support based on the needs of children birth to age three and their families. Our program is built on the belief that parents know what is best for their families. These services are designed to act on what families think is important for their child and family.
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.
How do I find out if a child is eligible?
A child up to age three is eligible for Early Development Network services if he or she is not developing typically, or has been diagnosed with a health condition that will affect his or her development. Identifying such delays or disabilities usually involves both the family and a team of professionals.
What happens next?
With the family's permission, a referral may be made by anyone concerned about the child's development, for example a child care provider, doctor or social worker. Once a referral is made, a Services Coordinator will contact the family within seven days to see if they are interested Early Development Network services.
With the family's permission, the Services Coordinator will arrange for an assessment with the local school district to determine the unique needs of the child. The Services Coordinator can link the family with community resources before the assessment, if needed. If the child is eligible for services, the Services Coordinator will pull together members of a team to help the family develop an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). This sets goals for the child and family, and identifies activities and services needed to achieve those goals. The IFSP will be completed within 45 days, so the family can access Early Development Network services as quickly as possible.
Why is a Services Coordinator important?
Children who are eligible often need many different services, the Services Coordinator is works with the different agencies that provide these services to make sure the child and family get the help they need. The Services Coordinator also informs families about services available in the community, makes sure services are delivered smoothly and properly. They can connect families with advocacy and support groups as well.
Families can receive help from a Services Coordinator up to the time of the assessment, and after the assessment if the child is verified as eligible. The family also may choose not to use the help of a Services Coordinator. In that case, the child's services will be coordinated by the family and the local school district.
What services are provided?
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 aren't limited to:
- Assistive technology devices and services
- Occupational therapy
- Physical therapy
- Psychological services
- Services coordination
- Special instruction
- Speech/language therapy
- Vision services
Other services may be provided based on the needs and eligibility of the child and family.
What happens after a child turns three?
Families may remain in the Early Development Network system until August 31 after their child's third birthday if they choose. After that time, educational services are provided by the school district based on needs identified in an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). If a child and family still need other types of services, the Services Coordinator can connect the family with other programs of the Health and Human Services System and other community agencies before the family leaves the Early Development Network system.