Early On Cass County
Providing the Assistance You Need.
Do you suspect that your infant is not developing at the same rate as other children? Does your child have a health issue that may put him/her at risk for future success? Are you a parent who finds yourself dealing with a child with diagnosed developmental needs?
We can help.
As an integral part of Michigan’s Early On program, Lewis Cass Intermediate School District offers a local Early On program that can provide you with many helpful resources.
Our Early On program is for families and their children from birth to age three who have developmental delays or are at risk for delays due to certain health conditions.
The program is designed to help families find the social, health, and educational services that will promote the development of their infants and toddlers with special needs.
Early On recognizes the significant development that occurs in children from birth to age three, emphasizes early identification of at-risk infants and toddlers, and seeks to minimize the potential for delayed development. The program strives to enable at-risk children to be successful not only in early childhood, but also in future years in a variety of settings.
How does Early On work?
We have learned so much more about how very young children learn. Young children learn best from their parents or everyday caregivers as they go about their daily activities of eating, bathing, diapering, playing and so forth. Our Early On provider will work with you, in your home, to figure out how to provide learning opportunities for your child as a part of your daily life. You will learn strategies for helping your child learn as you go about your everyday tasks and travels. Our vision is to develop supportive and empowered families who can help enrolled infants and toddlers reach their fullest potential and transition successfully to the next stage of their lives.
What Can I Expect?
If your child is eligible, you will be assigned a Service Coordinator who will support you the entire time your child is enrolled in the Early On program. Your coordinator will be your main contact and will ensure that you understand the Individualized Family Service Plan, know your rights, have services delivered on time, and seek other appropriate services as needed.
You will be a partner in assisting your eligible child. Be aware that these services are your right under the federal law that we now call the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Part C of this act was passed in 1986 and supports states in providing services for qualified young children and their families. Part C is important because it recognizes the central role families have in the lives of their children. It also recognizes that families are experts about their children. The families and professionals who wrote Part C of IDEA believe that families are just as important as professionals in deciding what kinds of supports their children may need.
For more information, visit the Early On website at 1800EarlyOn.org.
Your First Steps.
You look for all of your baby’s firsts: the first smile, the first sound, the first steps. But what if those milestones don’t seem to be reached as soon as you think they should? Don’t delay! You may want to ask for your doctor’s, nurse’s or caregiver’s opinion, but certainly if they share your concerns, it may be time to contact Dawn Grant at (269) 445-6245. She can help you start the process, which includes an evaluation by a team of professionals. You will have the opportunity to discuss with these professionals your concerns and questions, as they take a close look at how your child learns and grows. Your child may have a developmental delay, which means your child takes a little longer learning basic skills such as feeding, dressing, talking, walking, seeing, hearing, getting along with others and similar development benchmarks. Or, your child may have a diagnosed disability such as vision or hearing loss, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, or cleft palate. If your child is eligible, professionals will work with you to develop an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). This is a written plan that will guide the outcomes/goals expected for the child to grow, develop, and fully participate in daily and community activities. The IFSP also lists the services to be provided by Early On.