The H.O.P.E Program (Helping Others through Parent Education) is an early intervention program which serves infants/toddlers and their families. As a team, parents, caregivers, and professionals work together to help each infant/toddler to develop the skills needed for his/her next environment and to assist our families with the total care necessary for their child.
Based on the recommendations of HOPE staff, children enrolled in our program may receive special instruction therapy, speech and language therapy, social-emotional therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy. Psychological services are available as well. Services are provided in the child’s natural environment. Our program provides services that include in-center, home-based or daycare settings, and medical facilities. The most appropriate environment is determined by the HOPE staff based on individual needs of the child and family. Children may be seen individually or in small group therapy sessions.
- Special Instruction
- Speech Therapy
- Occupational Therapy
- Physical Therapy
Who can receive services?
In Alabama, a child is eligible for Early Intervention (EI) services if he/she is under the age of three and has at least a 25% delay in any of the five major areas of development: physical, social, adaptive, cognitive, or communication skills. A child is also eligible if he/she has a diagnosis of a condition resulting in a developmental delay.
Many of the parents of children involved in The Arc’s Early Intervention Program have reported the efforts made by therapists have helped them even more than their children. Parents say they learn techniques and strategies to better communicate with their children and handle their needs more appropriately.
How do I receive services?
Children are typically referred to our EI program through their pediatrician. If your child has been diagnosed with a developmental delay, call Alabama Early Intervention Child Find: 1-800-543-3098. A representative will enter your information into a state-wide database and then you will be referred to services available in your area.
Who will work with my child and family?
Alabama’s Early Intervention system provides eligible families with a service coordinator. This person will work with you and your child to develop an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). The plan includes defining your child’s goals and obtaining the services to meet those goals. You and the service provider will identify a team of professionals, family members, caregivers and other supports that will assist in reaching the outcomes of your IFSP. Together, the team will make decisions about services
and track progress. Your child’s pediatrician and other involved medical professionals remain in close contact with the team to ensure your child is getting the best care and services for their developmental progress.
1. Referral from medical professional or parent referral through Child Find
2. Initial interview with EI Staff
3. Evaluation by EI professional
4. Collaboration on the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP)
From the perspective of Dr. Henna Budhwani, parent, Assistant Professor at UAB, and Deputy Director of its Sparkman Center for Global Health:
“Our twin sons were born prematurely and developed feeding issues. They also began to lag behind in speech development. Our pediatrician suggested The Arc’s early intervention program to us. For almost a year and a half, a team of speech therapists, an occupational therapist, and a special instruction coordinator worked with the boys four times a month, giving my husband and me a plan of action to follow at home. It’s made a huge difference. We had tried other programs, but they were too clinical. The Arc’s program is more intuitive, more positive. More effective. Our sons are now on track developmentally—and I am a complete advocate of The Arc’s Early Intervention Program.”