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Which Road Should I Take to Help My Child?

Part I and Part II of this blog series discussed the first steps to take if you have concerns about your young child’s development.  You have started your journey towards addressing your concerns.  Your options are laid out as a road map and you have a destination or goal for your child.  But how do you get there?  There is more than one way to help support your child’s development.  Choosing the way that is the best fit for your child can get confusing at times.  This third and final part of the series talks about some options available to help support your child’s development.  All of these can be considered as part of your plan.  Your pediatrician may have some other suggestions depending on your child’s individual needs.  We will explore two of the most common recommendations for young children.

Early Intervention Services:

Who can access?  Part C Early Intervention Services are for infants and toddlers ages birth to three. 

What are they?  Services are provided in the child’s natural environments.  These can include the child’s home, playground, library, stores, or anywhere that your child spends his or her day.  All services are family-centered to address parent’s concerns, priorities, and goals.  Services can include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, developmental services, and service coordination. 

What does a visit look like?  Early Intervention services are based on a parent-coach model.  The provider works with the family to identify and teach the caregiver strategies which can be implemented throughout daily routines and activities.  The primary focus is on empowering the family to build a “bag of tricks” to use to support the child.

What do these services cost?  Intake, assessment, and service coordination activities are provided at no cost to the family.  There is a fee for therapy services but no family is turned away based on inability to pay.  Sources of payment are insurance, Medicaid, Part C funds, sliding fee scale, or fee appeal.

Who do I call in Fredericksburg?  The Parent Education – Infant Development program is the local Part C Early Intervention provider.  Please visit call (540) 372-3561.


Private-based, Medical Model Therapy Services

Who can access?  Each provider determines who can access services.

What are they?  Private therapy services are most often provided in a clinic or outpatient setting.  Services could include speech therapy, occupational therapy, or physical therapy.

What does a visit look like?  Most often, a parent brings the child to the clinic to meet with the therapist.  The therapist takes the child into another room to provide and practice techniques to address identified goals and developmental needs.  The therapist may or may not include the parent in the visit or provide a home program to practice between sessions.

What do these services cost?  The cost of these services depends on the provider.  Certain providers will bill private or public insurances and others do not.  Please talk directly with provider for more information. 

Who do I call in Fredericksburg?

Children’s Hospital of Richmond-Fredericksburg and Stafford locations

Helping Hands

Therapy Toolbox


Final thoughts:

Remember to consider what works best for your family!  No one type of therapy will work for every child or family.  The resources listed above are not mutually exclusive.  Your plan should fit your priorities, concerns, and resources!  If you need assistance with figuring out how to access the services above, we can help!  May is Early Intervention Month!  There is no better time to act than now!  Remember, Babies Can’t Wait!  Contact the Parent Education –Infant Development Program of the RACSB:

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But Everyone Told Me to Wait and See…Part II

In my first blog post, we explored some first steps to take if you are having concerns about your child’s development.  So what happens next?  If you explored some of the developmental checklists and still have concerns, the next step would be contacting your pediatrician or your local early intervention provider.  Your pediatrician will be able to offer a professional perspective, conduct a screening, or consider alternatives with you.  However, talking with your pediatrician about your concerns may seem a little intimidating.  There are a variety of emotions you may go through before, during, and after this appointment.  It is OK to feel these emotions!  It can be helpful to have a plan to help you get the information you need and express your concerns clearly. 

Setting up the appointment:           

Well-baby checks offer consistent opportunities to talk with your child’s pediatrician about developmental concerns.  Developmental screening questions are often included as part of this visit.  However, sometimes if you do not ask, you may not receive the information you need.  You may also find you have concerns between these visits.  I encourage you not to wait until your child’s next well-baby visit, if this happens.  Call and schedule an appointment. 

Before the appointment:

  • Write down information about your concerns.  Try to think of specific examples of your concerns.  (For example, “He does not seem like he hears me call his name, even when I am right behind him”).  If you completed a developmental checklist, include that with your information.  If you have the opportunity, record a video of your child that demonstrates your concern.  Your doctor may not see your specific concerns within the time frame of his or her interactions with your child.  Videos can be a helpful way to capture information.
  • Write down questions you have about development, concerns, etc.  Sometimes in the heat of the moment, it can be difficult to remember what questions have and have not been answered.  Taking a written list, can help you ensure that all information is gathered.  Bring an extra copy for the doctor and you can easily review it together. 
  • Consider what you would like to see happen moving forward to address your concerns.  Keep your options open but have an idea of what you would feel comfortable pursuing.

During the appointment:

  • Talk openly with your pediatrician about the concerns you have written down.  If he or she does not seem to be responding to your concerns, be persistent.  You are your child’s best advocate.  You are the expert on your child!  Do not accept “let’s just wait and see,” let your doctor know that your baby can’t wait!
  • Ask questions.  If you do not understand something your pediatrician has expressed, ask for clarification.  Pediatricians are not mind-readers, so they may not know that you do not understand.
  • Develop a plan with your pediatrician for follow-up or access to resources.

After the appointment:

  • -Follow up with your plan of action. 
  • -Re-visit your written list of concerns and questions.  Did you get all the answers you were looking for?  Do you understand the information provided?

Remember, it may not be easy to think about, discuss, or consider that your child may have a developmental delay.  Give yourself a break, too.  Talk with a family member or friend about your feelings and don’t feel bad if you need a little extra support through the process!

Part of your plan should include contacting your local early intervention program for a free developmental screening and evaluation.  Part three of this series will talk about your local early intervention program and community options.  May is Early Intervention Month!  There is no better time to act than now!  Remember, Babies Can’t Wait!  Contact the Parent Education –Infant Development Program of the RACSB:

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But Everyone Told Me to Just Wait and See….

Parenting is not for the faint of heart! On a good day, the job leaves us with more questions than answers. During the birth to early childhood stage, many of those questions revolve around development. Is my child sleeping and eating like he should? Is he rolling over and moving like others babies? Is he making enough sounds? It is easy to get overwhelmed and become concerned. You know your child better than anyone else! This is the first part of a three part series to talk about steps to take if you have concerns about your child's development. The first step is to know what you should expect to see from a child the same age as yours. Check out the video or explore the developmental checklists below.

Baby Steps: Learn the Signs. Act Early.

Source: National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD)
Running Time: (4:32) Release Date: 9/22/2008

Early recognition of developmental disabilities such as autism is key for parents and providers. CDC realized the impact on families and invested in a campaign to help parents measure their children's progress by monitoring how they play, learn, speak and act.

Developmental Checklists:

CDC- Learn the signs. Act Early:

Easter Seals On-Line ASQ:

Infant & Toddler Connection of Virginia:

Parent Education –Infant Development Program of the RACSB:

If you still have questions or concerns about your child's development, the next step would be talking to your doctor or local early intervention program (or even better, both!) Part two of this series will talk about how to talk to your doctor or local early intervention program about your concerns. May is Early Intervention Month! There is no better time to act than now! Remember, Babies Can't Wait!

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About Brandie

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Join my blog to find early childhood developmental tips, tidbits, strategies, and activities to support children and families.   As a mother of multiple sons (18, 14, 8, 6, and 3), I know that life can be hectic, so all strategies and activities can fit in the context of daily routines and places families typically go.

I am enthusiastic about supporting families who have concerns about their child’s development and helping connect them to desired resources.

Pouches' Community Corner

Trains, Planes and Automobiles Kids' Race Series


From a small beginning, Cathy Weise of the Ron Rosner YMCA has developed an ambitious three-race series for kids for this summer, with the help of The Great Train Race, Shannon Airport, Dominion Raceway & Entertainment, the Fredericksburg Area Service League and Race Timing Unlimited.

Great Train Race Director Jennifer Taylor was one of the first on board.