Early childhood development services: New Mexico ranked third in nation for identifying needs
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Did you know if a child in New Mexico under the age of three is showing a developmental delay, they could qualify for free services from the state?
New Mexico is one of the country’s leaders in early intervention services.
“(Children’s brains) develop the very fastest it’s ever going to develop between birth and the third birthday,” said Leah Davidson, New Mexico Family Infant & Toddler Program coordinator.
But not all children will develop the same way, which is where the state comes in.
“The Family Infant Toddler program is the implementer of early intervention in New Mexico,” said Davidson.
Nationwide, New Mexico ranks third for identifying young children who benefit from these services.
“We work with the mom, the dad, the grandma, the auntie, the teacher, and we provide coaching which is an evidence-based adult learning method where we help the grownups analyze, okay, where in this routine, could we really enhance our learning opportunities?” Davidson said.
Experts could include a developmental specialist or a social worker. It depends on the child and family’s needs.
“If that family is really concerned about talking, we’re likely going to have a speech-language pathologist visit. If they’re really concerned about moving around the house or eating, you know, we’re going to choose maybe a physical or an occupational therapist, but whoever it is, they are there to walk beside the family to share expertise and practice together,” said Davidson.
There are a number of ways to qualify.
“Or if they come to us with a medical diagnosis that either is – has a high likelihood of causing developmental delay, or that just puts them at higher risk for developmental delay, then they can also be eligible based on environmental risk. So like a family stressor that’s causing a lot of emotional pain,” Davidson said.
For more information and to see if you’re eligible, visit the Family Services of New Mexico website.