Neonatology Early Intervention

Early Intervention specialists at Nationwide Children's Hospital are licensed and certified teachers prepared at the bachelor’s and master’s levels in early childhood education, special education and other related fields.

In the NICU setting, our Early Intervention staff provide information about community programs, provide developmentally appropriate infant stimulation, and play when medically stable. Early Intervention specialists work collaboratively with nursing and therapies to provide strategies for bonding and attachment with your new baby. Early Intervention specialists work to help each child meet developmental milestones as they are able during their hospital admission. 

What is Early Intervention?

Ohio’s Early Intervention system aims to identify and serve children under the age of three with developmental delays and disabilities, as provided for under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The Help Me Grow program, which is available in all 88 counties, provides family-centered services for infants and toddlers up to age 3 who have a developmental delay or a medical condition likely to result in a delay or disability. Early Intervention builds on and provides support and resources to assist family members and caregivers in enhancing children’s learning and development through everyday learning opportunities.

The Seven Key Early Intervention Principles are as follows:

  1. Infants and Toddlers learn best through everyday experiences and interactions with familiar people in familiar contexts.
  2. All families with the necessary supports and resources can enhance their child’s learning and development.
  3. The primary role of a service provider in early intervention is to work with and support family members and caregivers in children’s lives.
  4. The early intervention process, from initial contacts through transition, must be dynamic and individualized to reflect the child’s and family members’ preferences, learning styles and cultural beliefs.
  5. IFSP outcomes must be functional and based on children’s and families’ needs and family-identified priorities.
  6. The family’s priorities, needs and interests are addressed most appropriately by a primary provider who represents and receives team and community support.
  7. Interventions with young children and family members must be based on explicit principles, validated practices, best available research and relevant laws and regulations.

The Help Me Grow Early Intervention Program

Once referred to the Help Me Grow program, children are evaluated in the developmental areas of adaptive, personal-social, communication, motor, and cognitive by an interdisciplinary team using the appropriate state-approved diagnostic tool at no cost to the family. If the child qualifies for specialized services, services are provided to the child and family through the primary service provider, which is determined based upon evaluation scores. Enrolled families are eligible to receive numerous services depending on the specific needs of their child.

Services may include:

  1. Nutrition Services
  2. Occupational Therapy
  3. Physical Therapy
  4. Psychological Services
  5. Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Services
  6. Vision Services
  7. Developmental Screenings, Evaluations and Ongoing Assessments
  8. Assistive Technology
  9. Social Work Services
  10. Other Specialized Services (facilitated by the family’s service coordinator)

To learn more about the Help Me Grow program, visit the Help Me Grow website or call 1 (800) 755-GROW (4769).