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Family, Health departments ally in program for children with special needs


Family Secretary Carmen Ana González Magaz

By The Star Staff


Children receiving learning and development services in Head Start, Early Head Start and the Child Care Program who show delays in language development, social development or deficiencies in motor coordination may receive therapy services provided by the Advancing Together System of Early Intervention, Family Secretary Carmen Ana González Magaz said Sunday.


The effort is part of an agreement between the Family and Health Departments to ensure that the services of speech and language pathology, psychology, social work, physical therapy, occupational therapy, counseling and orientation for families through Advancing Together services are offered to children ages 0-3 with developmental delays, González Magaz said in written a statement.


“We are maximizing the response between sister agencies to quickly address any deficiency that a child may show within our Head Start program throughout the island,” she said. “In this way we guarantee the coordination of services and support to enhance the development of infants and toddlers with developmental delays.”


Advancing Together program specialists screen minors referred for any family concern to detect possible developmental deficiencies. In the process, families and caregivers are oriented, trained and receive training to promote effective teaching environments. The services offered are completely free.


Health Secretary Carlos Mellado López noted that currently, the Advancing Together program has seven centers around the island and they seek to benefit more participants.


“The process is simple; the minor is screened and the eligibility determination criteria are applied,” Mellado López said.


Eligibility is determined if the infant has a developmental delay equal to or greater than 33% in one area of development or 25% or greater in two or more areas or scores below the cutoff for tests that are administered to them.


For more information about the Head Start and Early Head Start program, access the following link: https://acuden.pr.gov/Pages/default.aspx, send an email aheadstarcolab@familia.pr.gov or contact the Office Collaboration at 787-724-7474, extensions 3648, 3785, 3863 from Monday to Friday during business hours.

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