Birth to Three
The Wisconsin Birth to 3 Program is committed to serving children under the age of 3 with developmental delays and disabilities and their families. We value the family’s primary relationship with their child and work in partnership with the family. We work to enhance the child’s development and support the family’s knowledge, skills and abilities as they interact with and raise their child.
The Birth to Three Program provides services to children, ages birth to three, who have at least a 25% developmental delay. Services including physical, occupational, speech therapy, and educational instruction to parents, are provided primarily in the home and day care setting. Pierce County contracts with St. Croix Therapy to provide services.
The first three years of life are very important for any child’s future. We know that so much learning and growth happens in the first three years of life. The Birth to 3 Program provides support to families of children with developmental delays or disabilities under the age of three.
What we offer
A Service Coordinator is provided for any child who is suspected of having a delay in development at not cost to the family. If screening indicates a need, a more in-depth evaluation may be done.
A Service Coordinator and a team of professionals evaluate the child's ability to: learn (cognitive development), move, see and hear (physical/motor development); respond to and relate with others (social and emotional development); understand and communicate (speech and language development); and eat, dress and care for daily living needs (adaptive development). When a child is eligible for Birth to Three, the family and early intervention team will work together to identify services and supports for the child.
All children who are eligible for the Birth to Three program, will have a service coordinator who helps their family. The service coordinator assists the family throughout their time in Birth to Three. They can help locate other resources and help family's figure out what they need for their child. A Service Coordinator and a team of professionals evaluate the child's ability to: learn (cognitive development), move, see and hear (physical/motor development); respond to and relate with others (social and emotional development); understand and communicate (speech and language development); and eat, dress and care for daily living needs (adaptive development). When a child is eligible for Birth to Three, the family and early intervention team will work together to identify services and supports for the child.
Who Is Eligible
Birth to Three is Wisconsin’s early intervention program for infants and toddlers with developmental delays and disabilities. Birth to 3 is for children from birth to 36 months of age and their families. Eligibility is based on a diagnosed disability or significant developmental delay in one or more areas of development.
Birth to Three recognizes the important role of families and caregivers in the growth and development of a young child. Emphasis is placed on supporting families and caregivers in their child’s daily routines and activities, in ways that will promote optimal growth and development.
How we provide services
The Birth to Three Program incorporates three components into the framework of services
Natural Learning Environment
Intervention services are provided in environments where the child participates.
~Research tells us that young children learn best in familiar settings, when surrounded by the people they know and love, and have lots of opportunities for repetition. Children will learn the skills they need by participating in activities that they are already doing at home and in community activities the family likes to do. (going to the library, visiting relatives, parks). These everyday learning opportunities provide the child with a lot of time to practice the skills they need. This approach offers the child many more opportunities to practice skills, than having a single, weekly visit from a therapist or provider. Additionally, parents report that they don’t feel like they need to take time out of their busy day to do “therapy” with their child because it is integrated right into their day. Providing therapy without making it relevant and meaningful for the child and family is not as effective.
Coaching as an Interaction Style
Coaching is an evidence-based adult learning style. IDEA (the law) requires that we give parents the necessary tools they need to improve their child’s development.
~Research tells us that a young child’s family has the most influence on how that child grows and develops. How the family structures their day, what they value and their interests are just a few examples of things that will influence what a child learns. The way we provide early intervention services is designed to take all of the unique features about the family and support them in figuring out how best to meet the needs of their child. Through conversations and modeling, we work with them to share experiences, reflect on what works and doesn’t work and problem solve to come up with strategies and support that is most helpful for the child and family.
Primary coach approach to teaming
IDEA (the law) requires that early intervention services be comprehensive, coordinated and multidisciplinary. What does this mean? In a nutshell, services must include access to many professionals with a range of knowledge and skills.
~Children are complex and we have found it often requires many points of view to understand all that is happening with a child. Research tells us that a team approach is most effective, but that families do best when there is one primary individual that acts as the team liaison to support the parent. This primary individual (or coach as we call them) coordinates access to the entire team for the parent, works with the team through conversations and joint visits to get ideas and information that will be helpful to the child and caregiver. The family always has access to the knowledge and skills of professionals from other disciplines. Families report this style of interaction is less stressful to their family because it involves fewer visitors and appointments, while still having access to the professional knowledge they need to assist their child. In addition, they have reported that their services feel more coordinated and they aren't getting conflicting information from a variety of different disciplines.
Steps in the process
The Birth to 3 Program is funded through many different sources. The federal and state governments provide funding. In addition, the county contributes money to pay for the program. Families are asked to contribute to the program by providing consent to bill their insurance for some services. In addition, we have a Parental Cost share system where some parents who have higher incomes will be asked to make a monthly payment.
For more information, please call:
Birth to Three Program Coordinator
We encourage those who would like to make a referral to Birth to 3 to do so within 2 days of identification. There are several ways to make a referral:
Phone: 715-273-2096 or 715-273-6755
Complete referral form and FAX to us
Natural Partners: Physicians, Birth to 3 and Parents
Early Intervention Referral Guide for Pediatric Primary Care Givers
- Meet the Pierce County Birth to 3 Team
- Parent Handbook
- Wisconsin Birth to Three Program
- First Signs
- Centers for Disease Control
A guidebook for families on Wisconsin’s Early Intervention Program:
Families Are the Foundation https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/publications/p2/p22089.pdf
Track Your Child's Developmental Milestones
Wisconsin First Steps (1-800-642-7837)