Winter 2022 – Wisconsin’s Birth to 3 Program
Being a new parent is the best experience. You love your baby more than you thought possible. Sometimes, these feelings are mixed with doubt and a little fear. You want to know that everything is okay. This alertness is part of parenthood. You know your baby best, which makes you the expert on your child. Trust yourself.
When Should I Get Help?
Anytime you need parenting support, you can contact your pediatrician to answer questions about growth and development. Chances are your baby is healthy and just getting to things in his/her own time. By asking, you’ll rest more easily and learn more about the milestones that your baby will reach in the weeks and months ahead.
Your pediatrician may request a developmental screening to identify if your baby is at risk for cognitive, motor, communication or social-emotional delays. This is a good way to get more information about your baby from professionals. In Wisconsin, your pediatrician may make a referral to the Birth to 3 Program (Bto3) for screening to find if your child needs services.
Referring a Child to Birth to 3
ANYONE can refer a child directly to the Birth to 3 Programꟷeven if you’re not a family member. Bto3 recommends that the person making the referral talk to the family first. To get more information and start the process visit Birth to 3 Program: Contact Us.
Getting Answers Early is Important
It’s best to reach out with your concerns as soon as possible. The delays that the Bto3 look for may interfere with your baby’s growth, learning and development. For these reasons, Bto3 stresses the importance of the first 1,000 days to give your baby a good start.
These first few years shape a child’s life. This is the time when a child’s brain is mapped for a lifetime of learning and relationship building. The supports and services provided through the Birth to 3 Program will help your child learn, move, communicate, interact and relate with others, and learn to eat, dress, and take actions to meet their needs.
Start with the Birth to 3 Program
When the Birth to3 Program gets a referral, they reach out to the family to get background information and schedule an evaluation. After the evaluation meeting, they schedule an eligibility determination meeting with the family to explain the next steps.
If your child doesn’t meet the threshold for Birth to 3 Program services, they will provide other resources for information and support. If your child is eligible, the team decides on the best service provider, or coach, for your child’s team.
The Birth to 3 Program provides a core team for each child made up of occupational, physical and speech therapists, an early childhood special educator, and a service coordinator. Other professionals may be added to the team if your child needs more services to continue healthy development. The most important thing to remember is that you are a member of this team, as the person who knows your child best, you are the team captain and the team wants and needs your input.
Visits with the Birth to 3 Team
The Birth to 3 Program brings you, as parents and caregivers, into this learning process. The team coaches you on what you can do so you can continue to help the child learn during your family’s everyday activities and daily routines when providers are not there.
The team coach meets with the core team members regularly to update them on your child’s progress. If the team sees barriers to progress, they will brainstorm ideas to overcome them and may even send a second provider to gather more information about the child’s needs.
Tip for Families
If you can’t meet at your home for one of your child’s sessions, let your Bto3 team coach know. The Bto3 team is happy to meet anyplace that’s a natural environment for your child. This means a place where you are comfortable playing and learning. This might be a childcare center, a grandparent’s house, a library or even a park.
Transition at Age 3
Before your child turns three, Bto3 will begin transition planning with your family and your local school district to make sure that there’s a warm handoff. Then, 90 days before your child’s third birthday, a transition planning conference will be scheduled with the school district, Bto3 team and your family to discuss current therapies and the potential need for special education services.