If you have concerns about your child’s development, it’s best to seek help right away. That’s because children benefit most when concerns are addressed early in life. Your child may need further assessment from an early intervention provider or a health specialist, so get help today.
Follow these steps:
Step 1: Talk with Your Pediatrician
Schedule an appointment with your pediatrician or health care provider. If you’ve had developmental screening for your child, take the screening results with you. Depending on the concerns you have about your child, and the type of health insurance you have, your doctor can inform you about next steps.
Step 2: Get Your Child Assessed
There are several ways you can get an assessment for your child. Your doctor may refer your child to a developmental pediatrician, which may be covered by your health insurance. Another option is to call your school district or the Regional Center of the East Bay to request a free assessment. School districts and the Regional Center have different eligibility criteria, so your child might be eligible for services from one or both. You should always contact both to make sure your child is receiving every service he or she is eligible for.
Where to call if your child…
Has hearing, vision or physical impairment – Call your local school district. The district will assess your child and develop a service plan. The district is required to complete this in 45 days for children under age 3 and 60 days for children age 3 and older.
Is under age 3 and you have concerns about developmental delays – First call the Regional Center of the East Bay (510) 618-6195. Then call your school district. Within 45 days, your child must be assessed and eligibility for services must be determined. If your child is eligible for services, a service plan will be developed.
Is 3 to 5 years old and you have concerns about developmental delays – First call your school district. Then call the Regional Center of the East Bay (510) 618-6122. Within 60 days, the school district will assess your child in areas of suspected delay or disability, determine if your child is eligible for services, and develop a service plan. The Regional Center has 120 days to determine if your child has a disability that qualifies for services.
Has problems with social-emotional development – Contact early childhood mental health providers for an assessment. Your insurance may cover this so call your insurance provider to find out. Families with MediCal or without health insurance can contact:
- Central County – We Care Children’s Services (925) 671-0777
- East County – Lynn Center (925) 625-4918
- West County – Early Childhood Mental Health (510) 412-9200
Step 3: Be Prepared When You Call
You will probably leave a message when you call. Be sure to include:
- Your name (spell it out) and address
- The best phone number to reach you
- Your child’s name, age, and birth date
- A short description about why you are concerned about your child’s development
Step 4: Get Support and Information from the Care Parent Network
It can be difficult to know where to turn for help when you have concerns about your child’s development. Care Parent Network provides information, referrals, and support for families of children with developmental delays, disabilities, and special medical needs. Care also helps parents find the right services for their children, so if you’re stuck, call this helpful organization: (925) 313-0999.
The very best thing you can do for your child is to find help today. Don’t wait.
See these resources on developmental milestones: