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Has the wait for children's Early Intervention services just gotten longer?

The Early Intervention (EI) Program is a public program for children under the age of three who are either thought to have or are at risk for developmental delays or disabilities. Potentially eligible children must be referred to the county program to receive EI services which are funded by New York State and county governments.

In Monroe county alone, over 700 children are currently on a waiting list for more than 1,000 Early Intervention (EI) services. This is a problem in our region and across the state. Early Intervention providers aren't able to increase their capacities due to lack of funding, and most families cannot afford to pay privately for these vital services. Right now, the rate of reimbursement for EI providers is less than it was 20 years ago. However, despite widespread bipartisan agreement, New York State recently failed to pass any increase in this reimbursement rate for childhood Early Intervention providers.

RHSC's Early Intervention Playdates

Despite the many challenges of providing EI services, Rochester Hearing & Speech Center remains committed to meeting this critical community need. RHSC is now the only nonprofit provider of Early Intervention services with a footprint in Monroe County, and is working hard to create opportunities for children and families to receive support while they wait for services.

EI Guided Playdates

Each month, RHSC offers Early Intervention Guided Playdates at its Elmwood location in Brighton. These playdates are two-hour sessions that provide an opportunity for parents/caregivers to interact with licensed therapists while they engage in developmentally appropriate activities with their child/children and other families! Mini-seminars on topics of interest are also provided for parents during the events.

Hosted by Rochester Hearing & Speech Center with collaboration from Nazareth College, Monroe County Early Intervention Program, Pirate Toy Fund, and Parents Helping Parents, our EI Playdates are made possible by a generous grant from The Golisano Foundation.

For more information and to contact Beth McLellan, Director of Educational & Clinical Services, please visit our webpage.

So what's next for our children?

WXXI's Connections with Evan Dawson speaks with local experts about why the budget increase failed and what's next for children and providers alike. Listen below for the full story:

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