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Early Intervention and CP
Q: My nephew is two years old and lives in Malden, Massachusetts. He has CP (cerebral palsy) and is not able to yet walk or talk. When my sister begins to look for schools for my nephew, what types of questions should she be asking? How does she go about finding just the right school for her son? Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
A: Your sister should have been given information about early intervention programs by your son's pediatrician. If not, ask him/her about how to get this service. Or, she can call the developmental disabilities programs at the Shriver Center in Waltham (781/642-0001), or Children's Hospital (the developmental programs phone number is 617/355-7991). They will be able to put her in touch with early intervention services (programs that provide specialists who help young children with disabilities develop to the best of their abilities. If your sister has not yet connected with United Cerebral Palsy, she should call their office (in Watertown, the number is 617/926-5480) and ask about early intervention programs. They should be able to give her advice about school selection.
When your nephew turns three, he'll be eligible for services at his local public school, so she might want to also contact them now. They will know of local preschools and programs that can provide appropriate services for your nephew, and they can let you know what the special education law provides for him when he turns three.
Good luck. Let me know if these resources are helpful.
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Jerome (Jerry) Schultz is the founding clinical director of the Learning Lab @ Lesley University, a program that provides assessment, tutoring, and case management services for children with learning challenges. Schultz holds a Ph.D. from Boston College, and has completed postdoctoral fellowships in both clinical psychology and pediatric neuropsychology.