In October 1986, the United States Congress passed Public Law 99-457, which authorized an early intervention program for children birth-2 years and preschool services for children 3 -5 years of age identified with a disability. In Ohio, Help Me Grow, a program for children identified with a disability birth through age 2, is the responsibility of the Department of Developmental Disabilities.    

A Help Me Grow program is located in each of Ohio’s 88 counties. Help Me Grow staff work with parents, community agencies, medical personnel, and childcare providers to provide support to children identified with a disability or developmental delay.

Parents with concerns regarding their child’s development can have their infant or toddler evaluated by an interdisciplinary team at no cost to the family. Children are evaluated for delays in the areas of adaptive behavior, communication, fine and gross motor, and social-emotional development using appropriate diagnostic tools. Should the team, including the parent, determine that a child has a developmental delay, an Individual Family Services Plan (IFSP), which identifies goals and services in the area(s) of need, will be developed.

Services through Help Me Grow are provided until the child reaches 3 years of age, at which time the child is evaluated by the family’s school district of residence. The evaluation team may include a school psychologist, an intervention specialist, speech pathologist, or orientation and mobility specialist, provided by the school district.

algorithym-part-cEarly intervention is critical for a child with a sensory disability or co-existing sensory disabilities. Collaboration among service providers and between service providers and the family, is essential in building the child’s skills and in providing experiences that will support the child’s learning and development.

If you suspect your child may have a vision and/or hearing loss, click here to access the web-based Vision Assessment Algorithm and Hearing Assessment Algorithm.

Information and resources related to early intervention are available from the Office for Exceptional Children on the Ohio Department of Education website and the Ohio Center for Deafblind Education (

Click here for information about CHARGE Syndrome Educational Practices.

Additional information to assess whether your child may have a combined vision-hearing loss can be found in the Parents Guide for the Identification of Children with Deafblindness  ( Spanish Version ). Two additional guides, Medical Professionals Guide for the Identification of Children with Deafblindness  and the Educators Guide for the Identification of Children with Deafblindness  can be shared with your child’s physician and teacher.

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