Early intervention

At a Glance: Specialists Who Work With Babies and Toddlers

By Annie Stuart

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Several types of early intervention specialists work with babies and toddlers on reaching developmental milestones. Find out what they do and how they can help.

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At a Glance: Specialists Who Work With Babies and Toddlers

Does your baby or toddler need early intervention services? If your child is eligible, one or more of these specialists may be able to help.

Speech-Language Pathologists

Speech-language pathologists help with communication skills. They provide services to help with any delays in language, speech, beginning literacy and feeding or swallowing.

Physical Therapists

Physical therapists use special knowledge and methods to assess and help with movement and gross motor skills. This includes problems with balance, strength and coordination.

Occupational Therapists
Occupational therapists can help with ne motor skills, such as grasping small objects. They also can help with cognitive, sensory processing, communication and play skills. They may teach you how to adapt your home and teach your child feeding and self-care skills.

Psychologists and other family counselors help you with your child’s behavior, mental health and learning issues. They help your child learn how to express and regulate emotions, form close relationships and explore the world around them.

Nurses can assess your child’s health status and help improve it. They provide ideas for feeding, growth and medical concerns. They can also provide medication or treatment prescribed by a licensed doctor.

Nutritionists assess and help with any problems with feeding or diet.

Audiologists test to see if your child has any hearing loss. If so, they can provide lip-reading training, hearing devices or other services related to hearing and communication.
Social Workers

Social workers may assess your child’s social and emotional development. They also help you find needed resources.

Developmental Therapists
Developmental therapists (also sometimes called developmental educators) help design activities and learning situations to promote a child’s thinking and learning skills and social interaction.

Vision Specialists
Vision specialists can assess problems with vision and teach eye exercises, if needed. They refer your child for any needed medical or professional services.
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About the Author

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Portrait of Virginia Gryta

Virginia Gryta, M.S., teaches and mentors students working toward master’s degrees and certification in special education at Hunter College.

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