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Arkansas First Connections Early Intervention Program
What is First Connections?
First Connections is a program that provides developmental services for infants and toddlers and intervention for their families. Research has shown that the development of a child during his/her first three years has a significant effect on future success; and intervention for any developmental delays during these years can have a substantial positive impact. The First Connections Program partners with families to help remediate developmental delays, preferrably in a natural and routines based environment, in order to create the best foundation possible for infants and toddlers.
The First Connections Program is a federally funded program provided to states through Part C of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act. (IDEA) The Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) is the Lead Agency for the Program. The Division of Developmental Disabilities Services (DDS) is the division within DHS, which has administrative responsibility for implementation of the program.
Who can be a part of the program?Children ages birth to thirty-six months who:
- Have a developmental delay in one or more areas of development. This delay must be 25% or more of their chronological age.
- Have a medical diagnosis that has a high probability of resulting in a developmental delay.
What can the program do to help?
The program helps locate, coordinate, and fund an array of 16 services to assist the child and their family. These include:
- Assistive Technology
- Speech Therapy
- Physical Therapy
- Occupational Therapy
- Special Instruction
- Service Coordination
- Health Services
- Social Work Services
- Nutritional Services
- Vision Services
- Multi-Disciplinary Evaluation
- Medical Diagnostic Services
- Psychological Services
- Nursing Services
- Family Training, Counseling and Home Visits
The program also provides supportive services to families to provide training to help understand and assist in their child’s development. Services provided through the First Connections Program are:
- Free to eligible infants & toddlers and their families
- Voluntary on the part of the family
- Provided by qualified professionals who meet state licensing requirements