The Regional Municipality Of York

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Children with Special Needs

Early Intervention Services

If you’re worried about your child’s development, York Region can help.

York Region Early Intervention Services (EIS) delivers programs that support families who have children with special needs in their homes or licensed child care settings. The years between birth and school-entry are critical to a child’s development. Studies have shown that intervening in a child’s development early has a much greater impact than doing so at a later stage. York Region Early Intervention Services assists children and their families in this important period.

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, Early Intervention Services (EIS) is offering virtual meetings (through telephone and Zoom videoconference) to families currently enrolled in the programs instead of in-person consultations. For information on how to use Zoom for online meetings with EIS, please read the instructions.

Benefits of early intervention

  • Helps the parent/guardian understand their child’s development and adjust to their needs, which helps the child reach their full potential in all areas of life
  • Puts the parent/guardian in touch with needed help and support as soon as possible
  • Supports the child’s participation in a child care setting
  • Encourages a successful transition to school

Cost

  • All early intervention services are provided at no cost
  • Minimal cost for materials may apply

Programs and eligibility

York Region EIS provides four different programs to support a child’s development. Eligibility information is included in each program description.

Infant and Child Development Services

Providing early intervention services at home

The Infant and Child Development Services program supports families who have infants and young children who have been diagnosed with, or are at risk of having a developmental delay. It is primarily funded by York Region, and in part by the Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services.

Who is eligible?

The Infant and Child Development Services program supports children from birth to school entry who live in York Region and have one or more of the following:

  • An established risk: A diagnosed developmental disability, disorder or medical condition
  • A biological risk: Events that occurred prior to, during, or soon after a child’s birth that may impact a child’s development
  • Delays in development: Child demonstrates delays in developmental functioning including signs/red flags for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
    Areas of developmental delay may include communication, fine motor, gross motor, cognition or activities of daily living/self-help:
    • For children under 12 months, delays in development in one or more areas listed above
    • For children 12 months and older, delays in development in two or more areas listed above

What services are offered?

This program ensures families have the required supports to enable their children to fully participate in family routines. Services offered include:

  • Home visits with families
  • Coaching parents to support their children’s participation in all aspects of daily life
  • Routines-based interviews to determine areas of need
  • Child development screening and assessment
  • Development of individual Family Service Plans
  • Neonatal follow-up clinics for children at higher risk of developmental delay (doctor’s referral required)
  • Developmental monitoring for children at risk of delays
  • Activities and play groups that teach your child new skills and promote development
  • Workshops and support groups for parents and caregivers
  • Referrals to community agencies
  • Transition to school support

Where are services provided?

Services are provided in individual and group settings. Services can be provided in:

  • The family/caregiver home
  • Local community settings (such as libraries, EarlyON child and family programs, recreation centres, parks)
  • York Region Early Intervention Services offices

What happens next?

The Infant and Child Development Services program is for infants and young children who have been diagnosed with, or are at risk of having a developmental delay, within their home. Participation in the program ends when the child’s development is no longer delayed, the family leaves York Region, or at any time parents/caregivers choose.

The child can be transferred to the York Region Inclusion Support Services program when the child transitions to a licensed child care program (including licensed centre-based and home-based child care programs, Montessori schools, nursery schools and preschools) or starts school (kindergarten or grade 1) and requires support to fully participate in before and after school programs.

Where are York Region Early Intervention Services offices located?

The Town of Newmarket
17310 Yonge Street, Unit 9
Newmarket, ON L3Y 7R9

The City of Richmond Hill
50 High Tech Road, 4th Floor
Richmond Hill, ON L4B 4N7

The City of Vaughan
9060 Jane Street, 2nd floor
Vaughan, ON L4K 0G5

The Town of Georgina
24262 Woodbine Avenue
Georgina, ON L4P 3E9

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Neonatal Follow-up Program

York Region Early Intervention Services provides neonatal services for infants and children at higher risk of developmental delay due to prematurity or birth complications. The program is offered in partnership with Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital, Markham Stouffville Hospital and Southlake Regional Health Centre.The goal of the program is to monitor the development of infant and children through early intervention and build on the care that is provided in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

Who is eligible?

  • Infants/children who were cared for in the NICU and are at high risk of developmental delays because they experienced complications during birth. These include infants and children who:
    • Are born less than 33 weeks gestation
    • Have a birth weight of less than 2,000 grams
    • Are at risk for neurological impairments
    • Are small for their gestational age (SGA)
    • Have metabolic conditions (including prenatal exposure to substance abuse)
    • Have complex needs

A referral from the child’s doctor is required to access services.

What services are offered?

Services are provided by a multi-disciplinary team, including a physician (neonatologist or pediatrician), an early interventionist (child development specialist), and an occupational therapist or physiotherapist. All specialists focus on the child’s growth and development in all areas (gross and fine motor, feeding, speech and language, play skills and problem solving).

Specialists assess, monitor and provide early intervention strategies and suggestions to the child’s parents to promote optimal developmental outcomes.

Parents/caregivers receive information about their infant/child’s development, ask questions and discuss concerns, are connected to community resources and receive referrals to community supports.

If there are speech and language concerns, families are referred to the York Region Preschool Speech and Language Program (YRPSLP) to meet with a speech language pathologist (SLP) for an assessment.

The clinic is not intended for primary medical care.

What happens next?

Participation in this program ends when the child turns 36 months old (age three), when the neonatal follow-up team determines that the child no longer requires monitoring, or at any time parents/caregivers choose.

How often are the appointments?

  • Appointments are typically scheduled at regular intervals ending at 36 months corrected age
  • The first appointment is four-to-six weeks after discharge from the hospital. The next appointments are at four, eight, 12, 18, 24, 30 and 36 months corrected age
  • The first appointment is usually scheduled before the baby is discharged from the hospital

What happens at a typical appointment?

  • The doctor completes a physical exam and the team assesses the child by completing developmental screens (tests)
  • The team discusses their assessment with the parents/caregivers and provides recommendations
  • A written report is provided to the parents/caregivers and a note is sent to the child’s primary doctor (and any other care providers, as requested)
  • Appointments last approximately 45 minutes
    • Parents/caregivers must bring the child’s Ontario Health card and any relevant reports from the child’s therapists or physicians. They are also encouraged to bring a list of their questions.

How can appointments be changed or cancelled?

Please contact the hospital where the appointment is scheduled as soon as possible to change or cancel an appointment:

Where are the clinics located?

Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital
10 Trench Street
B Wing Room 2912
Richmond Hill, ON L4C 4Z3

Markham Stouffville Hospital
381 Church Street
PAC Clinic 4
Markham, ON L3P 7P3

Southlake Regional Health Centre
596 Davis Drive
Floor 4 Pediatrics
Newmarket, ON L3Y 2P9

The Regional Municipality of York en-US

Therapy Services

Therapy services support the development of children (from birth to age six) who require occupational therapy (OT) and physiotherapy (PT). Therapy services are funded by York Region and by the Children’s Treatment Network (CTN).

There are two streams of services:

  1. Early Intervention Services (EIS) Collaborative Consultation
  2. CTN funded occupational therapy and physiotherapy or CTN Therapy Services

Who is eligible?

EIS Collaborative Consultation

  • Families and children enrolled in the following Early Intervention Services programs:
    • Infant and Child Development Services (ICDS)
    • Inclusion Support Services (ISS)

CTN Therapy Services

  • Children from birth to school entry who have functional limitations resulting from neuromotor, neuromuscular, degenerative, or chronic musculoskeletal conditions 
  • In the absence of a diagnosis, eligibility is determined following a therapy screen appointment with a therapist (OT or PT)

What services are offered?

Services may be offered in one-to-one and group settings:

  • EIS Collaborative Consultation: include assessment and screening, education, coaching, consultation, monitoring, referrals to community supports and services
  • CTN Therapy Services: include the supports listed above as well as direct intervention and prescription of seating and mobility equipment

Physiotherapy services

Physiotherapy services are provided by physiotherapists who help maximize a child’s mobility and participation in daily routines.

Physiotherapists:

  • Address concerns regarding physical function (mobility, strength, endurance, range of motion, balance, coordination and muscle tone)
  • Prescribe equipment (such as walkers and forearm crutches) and specialized positioning devices (such as braces and garments)
  • Support participation in sports and leisure activities

Physiotherapists are registered health professionals with the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario.

Occupational therapy services

Occupational therapy services are provided by occupational therapists who help maximize a child’s participation in daily routines in their natural environments (school, child care and home). Occupational therapists provide support in the areas of fine motor, play/leisure and self-care (feeding, dressing and bathing).

Occupational therapists:

  • Address concerns with daily function (mobility, strength, range of motion, motor planning, sensory system function and muscle tone)
  • Prescribe seating and materials (such as hand splints, wheelchairs and bath seats) to improve performance and participation
  • Recommend changes to the environment (such as home, vehicle and classrooms) to promote accessibility and function

Occupational therapists are registered health professionals with the College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario.

How are services provided?

EIS Collaborative Consultation

  • The Early Interventionist (EI) is the primary service provider who can make referrals to other team members, such as the OT or PT, as needed, based on the outcomes in the Family Service Plan (FSP) or the goals in the child’s Individual Program Plan (IPP)
  • The EI, OT and PT work collaboratively with the parents/educators to recommend strategies to support the outcomes in the FSP or the goals in the child’s IPP
  • The collaborative approach supports:
    • The integration of the care plan into the child/family’s daily routines
    • The shared goal of assisting caregivers to help children reach their highest functional potential

CTN Therapy Services

To learn more about how CTN Therapy Services are provided, please visit the CTN Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy Services webpage and read the CTN Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy Intervention Guide.

How can you access therapy services?

For EIS Collaborative Consultation, parents/educators may speak to their Early Interventionist who can initiate a referral.

For CTN Therapy Services, parents may call the KIDS Line at 1-888-703-KIDS (5437).  With parental consent, physicians and other professionals can refer by faxing a developmental screen (ERIK or Looksee checklist) and the referral form to our Intake line at 905-762-2115 or by calling CTN ACCESS at 1-866-377-0286.  Physicians and other professionals can refer using the Physician’s referral form or the Local Team referral form, , respectively available on the CTN website.

Where are services provided?

Both individual and group services are provided. For  EIS collaborative consultative  services, the location aligns with the early interventionist’s service location.

For CTN Therapy Services, the service location is determined by the child’s needs and goals. Services may be provided in:
  • The family/caregiver home
  • Licensed child care centres
  • York Region offices
  • Local community settings (such as recreation centres, child and family programs, parks)

What happens next?

EIS Collaborative Consultative services end when the child is discharged from the Infant and Child Development Services or Inclusion Support Services programs.

Services for children receiving CTN therapy services end when any of the following are met:

  • The child reaches five years and 11 months of age
  • Therapy services are transferred to school-aged therapy supports
  • The child has progressed well and no longer meets eligibility requirements for the CTN hosted therapy support
  • The family no longer lives or attends licensed child care in York Region
  • At any time that the family chooses
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Inclusion Support Services

Providing early intervention services in licensed child care

The Inclusion Support Services program supports children from birth to age 13 with special needs who attend licensed child care, licensed before and after school programs, or an approved recreation program in York Region and require support to fully participate in programs. The program is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Education.

Who is eligible?

The Inclusion Support Services program supports children with special needs from birth to age 13:

  • Who live in York Region and/or
  • Who attend:
    • Licensed child care, home care, before and after school programs in York Region and/or
    • An approved recreation program in York Region (and are 4 to 13 years old)
  • Whose needs are of such a nature that extra support is required for the child to participate

What services are offered?

This program ensures that children who may require support have equal access to inclusive licensed early learning and child care programs in York Region. It provides support to individual children through collaborative consultation visits with educators and support for families’ service coordination needs, as required.

The Inclusion Support Services program strengthens early learning and child care educators’ capacity to engage in inclusive practices for children with special needs in licensed child care settings.

Services include:

  • A Routines-Based Model of Intervention
  • Child development screening
  • Development of Individual Program Plans for children
  • Collaborative consultation visits with early learning and child care educators to promote inclusive practices
  • Coaching educators to implement goals and strategies that teach children new skills and promote development
  • Adaptation suggestions to the classroom environment to include all children within the program
  • Service coordination activities for families (such as referrals to community agencies)
  • Transition to school support
  • Professional development and capacity building opportunities for early learning and child care staff/educators to promote best practices in inclusion

Where are services provided?

Services are provided in:

  • Licensed early learning and child care programs, including licensed home child care
  • Licensed before and after school programs
  • York Region offices

What happens next?

Participation in this program ends when the child no longer attends a licensed child care program or before and after school program in York Region. The child may then be eligible for the Infant and Child Development Services program.

Participation would also end at any time parents/caregivers choose and/or when the parent/caregiver and/or early learning and child care provider no longer have concerns regarding the child’s development.

Where are York Region offices located?

The City of Markham
9275 Markham Road, Unit 15
Markham, ON L6E 1A2

The City of Richmond Hill
50 High Tech Road, 4th Floor
Richmond Hill, ON L4B 4N7

The City of Richmond Hill
13175 Yonge Street
Richmond Hill, ON L4E 0G6

The City of Vaughan
9060 Jane Street, 2nd floor
Vaughan, ON L4K 0G5

one year of age,13 years old,licensed child care,before and after school program The Regional Municipality of York en-US

Why Routines are Important

Learn about the Routines-Based Model of Intervention, which is used to support children with special needs, their families and early learning and child care professionals.

York Region Early Intervention Services programs use a Routines-Based Model of service delivery for infants and children in their natural environments (at home and licensed early learning and child care settings). This model is considered best practice in the field of early intervention. The child’s best ‘interventionists’ are the caregivers (parents and educators) who are with the child throughout the day every day and are the main source of support in a child’s daily activities and routines.

How does it work?

The Routines-Based Model of intervention engages children throughout their daily activities and routines. Parents and caregivers work together with an early interventionist to establish functional outcomes that will enhance the child’s participation, independence and social relationships in daily natural routines. Early interventionists also work with a child’s caregivers to promote activities that can be implemented in between visits within these routines.

For information about how this model is used in Early Intervention Services programs, please read:

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How to Access Services

Parents may call the KIDS Line at 1-888-703-KIDS (5437) to be directed to an intake worker who will:

  • Explain EIS programs and services
  • Ask questions about the child’s development
  • Suggest resources for the child and family to access
  • Refer the child to other services in the community for additional support

With parental consent, physicians and other professionals can refer by faxing a developmental screen (ERIK or Looksee checklist) and the referral form to our Intake line at 905-762-2115.



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External resources


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