Help for Babies and ToddlersWhen a baby is born with Down syndrome, his or her parents should know that there’s a lot of help available—and immediately. Shortly after the diagnosis of Down syndrome is confirmed, parents will want to get in touch with the early intervention system in their community.
Early intervention is a system of services designed to help infants and toddlers with disabilities (before their 3rd birthday) and their families. It’s mandated by federal law—the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the nation’s special education law. Staff work with the child’s family to develop what is known as an Individualized Family Services Plan, or IFSP. The IFSP will describe the child’s unique needs as well as the services he or she will receive to address those needs. The IFSP will also emphasize the unique needs of the family, so that parents and other family members will know how to help their young child with Down syndrome. Early intervention services may be provided on a sliding-fee basis, meaning that the costs to the family will depend upon their income.