Early Intervention Services for Children Birth to 3 Years of Age
The First Connections Program (through Parts C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act-IDEA) is responsible for the planning, development, and implementation of statewide services for infants and toddlers (0 to 36 months of age). Currently, this unit provides services for approximately 3,000 infants and toddlers. Eleven (11) DHS Program Coordinators and one (1) Program Administrator provide intake, service option presentations, individual social history development, referrals, transition to Early Childhood, individual service coordination (case management), obtaining and maintaining client data tracking information and case notes. Early Intervention services include the following 16 federally mandated components: identification; evaluation; procedural safeguards; case management; speech, physical and occupational therapies; audiological services; developmental therapy; family training, health/medical services; nutrition services; psychological services; social work services and transportation. Additionally, this program works closely with both the State and Local Interagency Coordinating Councils, whose responsibility is to provide advice and assistance regarding early intervention services in the local community. Procedures and responsibilities designated by Part C of the IDEA are developed and supervised by First Connections staff. Home-based early intervention for infants and toddlers provides speech/language, physical and occupational therapies, and specialized services are provided in integrated day care programs, therapeutic settings, or the child's home.
A family-centered medical home is not a building, house, hospital, or home healthcare service, but rather an approach to providing comprehensive primary care.
In a family-centered medical home the pediatric care team works in partnership with a child and a child's family to assure that all of the medical and non-medical needs of the patient are met.
Through this partnership the pediatric care team can help the family/patient access, coordinate, and understand specialty care, educational services, out-of-home care, family support, and other public and private community services that are important for the overall health of the child and family.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) developed the medical home model for delivering primary care that is accessible, continuous, comprehensive, family-centered, coordinated, compassionate, and culturally effective to all children and youth, including those with special health care needs.
Healthy and Ready to Work
Health Impacts All Aspects of Life
Success in the classroom, within the community, and on the job requires that young people with special health care needs stay healthy. To stay healthy, young people need an understanding of their health and to participate in their health care decisions.
This site provides information and connections to health and transition expertise nationwide – from those in the know, doing the work and living it!
This site focuses on understanding systems, access to quality health care, and increasing the involvement of youth. It also includes provider preparation plus tools and resources needed to make more informed choices!
Education and Children with Special Health Care Needs
Some children experience difficulties in school, ranging from problems with concentration, learning, language, and perception to problems with behavior and/or making and keeping friends. These difficulties may be due to one or more of the following: physical disorders, psychiatric disorders, emotional problems, behavioral problems, and learning disorders (or disabilities). These children with special needs are usually entitled to receive special services or accommodations through the public schools. Federal law mandates that every child will receive a free and appropriate education in the least restrictive environment. To support their ability to learn in school, three Federal laws apply to children with special needs:
- The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (1975)
- Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
- The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (1990)
Different states have different criteria for eligibility, services available, and procedures for implementing their laws. It is important for parents to be aware of these laws and regulations in their particular area.
TEFRA 134(a), a provision of the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982, allows states to extend Medicaid coverage to certain disabled children. Also known as the Katie Beckett option, TEFRA is a category of Medicaid that provides care to disabled children in their homes rather than in institutions. In Arkansas, TEFRA is a Waiver program. A Waiver, in layman’s terms, is an agreement between the Federal government and the state’s Medicaid program that allows the state to “waive” some of their normal rules to provide Medicaid coverage. The Arkansas TEFRA waiver requires families to buy into the Medicaid program by paying a monthly premium based upon the parental income.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
SSI is a Social Security Administration program that provides benefits to individuals (children and adults) who are determined disabled according to SSI standards. To apply for disability benefits for a child, you will need to complete an Application for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) AND a Child Disability Report. The report collects information about the child’s disabling condition and how it affects his/her ability to function.
DDS Developmental Services plans and provides continuous training for Speech Pathologists serving community programs as well as technical assistance to licensed community programs. Contracts for Early Childhood services are monitored by this unit.
Community Support Services
Provides a variety of services, including day programming (early intervention, preschool), respite care, family support, follow-along, case management, integrated supports, and community integration companions.
Individuals receiving services in the local community receive supervision from trained service providers in the most appropriate setting. Service providers must meet specified standards and criteria through either DDS licensure or certification. Community Support Services includes Field Services, First Connections (Part C Early Intervention), Early Childhood, Therapeutic Services, and Integrated Services that provide wraparound support to persons with dual diagnoses (developmental disabilities and mental illness).
The Family-To-Family Health Information Center of Arkansas (F2F HIC) is a non-profit family-run organization that assists families of children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN) and the professionals who serve them. Health-related support, information, resources and training are provided by families for families.
Arkansas Guide to Services for Children with Disabilities
Resource information about programs and services available to families of children with disabilities is included in this easy to use booklet.
MCH Block Grant
The Title V Children with Special Health Care Needs program receives federal funding via the MCH Block Grant. A comprehensive Needs Assessment is conducted at the beginning of every 5-year grant cycle with annual updates provided. Information about the grant is available for public review.