What is Early Intervention?
The first three years of life are the most crucial period for a child’s growth and development. Many factors or conditions may prevent young children from learning to move, explore, communicate and develop a sense of their own identity.
The primary focus of early intervention is family education, training and support and it is tailored to the life style and values of your family.
Early intervention builds upon the natural learning occurring in those first few years. It will serve as a guide to reinforce effective parenting skills in order to foster the growth and development of your child.
With your help, the Helping Hands Early Intervention program in American Samoa will provide your family with support and services to enhance your child's development by:
Answering your questions about your child's development
Assisting you to interact with your child throughout daily routines at home and in the community
Enhancing your child's developmental and educational growth
Supporting your child to become more independent
Preventing the need for more and costly intervention in the future
American Samoa's Helping Hands Early intervention program is under the AS Department of Health. Our program is funded through a formula grant from the US Department of Education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Part C.
Please note that you may hear our program referred to a the "Part C" program and this comes from the section of the law that funds early intervention.
Who are We and What Do We Do?
The American Samoa, Helping Hands Early Intervention Program provides support to families as well as many types of services to infants and toddlers under the age of three who have a developmental delay, a health condition or a disability that affects their development.
A developmental delay means that a child is behind in at least one area of development including:
PHYSICAL SKILLS - reaching, crawling, walking, drawing, building (includes vision and hearing)
COGNITIVE SKILLS - thinking, learning, solving problems such as play skills, attention, memory, problem solving, sorting skills and visual perception
COMMUNICATION SKILLS - talking, listening, understanding others (how the child understands what is said and how the child uses sound, words or gestures to let others know what she/he wants)
SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL SKILLS - playing, interacting with others (includes the child’s experience, expression, and management of emotions and the ability to establish positive and rewarding relationships with family members, their peers, and others.)
SELF-HELP or ADAPTIVE SKILLS - feeding and dressing skills
SENSORY PROCESSING SKILLS- handling textures, tastes, sounds, smells
Parents are encouraged to call or visit our Helping Hands early intervention program with any concerns related to your child’s development. Click HERE for contact information.
How is My Child Developing?
What is typical development for a child my age?
Skills such as taking a first step, smiling for the first time, and waving “bye bye” are called developmental milestones. Children reach milestones in how they play, learn, speak, act, and move (crawling, walking, etc.).
Please see more from CDC's Developmental Milestones for more information.
See our Resources page for more helpful links.
The early childhood years lay the foundation for all future development.
Early diagnosis and treatment for developmental delays increases the chances of improvement rather than simply “waiting it out” and treating problems later.
Earlier is better - when treating communication and language difficulties. Early treatment can prevent potential problems with behavior, learning, reading and social interaction.
By age 3, most of the major brain structures are mature, and it becomes more difficult to make significant changes in a child’s growth and development.