When Chelsea and Brett Wilson began seeing signs that their son Chris might have delays in his speech, they knew what to do.
Several years earlier, their older son Ben had experienced speech delays and had a positive experience with Licking County Early Intervention.
So, with support from their pediatrician, the Granville couple reached out and made a referral for Chris.
He began receiving Early Intervention services from Developmental Specialist Jackalyn Jones in September of 2021.
“Since Ben had a speech delay, we moved fast to get Chris (connected to EI,)” Chelsea said. “His speech has just kind of taken off!”
Early Intervention (EI) is a statewide system of support for Ohio children, ages 0-3, who are experiencing developmental delays or have a developmental disability or medical condition known to cause delays.
Provided in Licking County by the Licking County Board of Developmental Disabilities, EI is provided at no cost to families, in homes and other places in the community where children learn best.
“It’s really helpful that it’s local, and free,” Chelsea said.
When Chris started working with Jackalyn, he wasn’t saying many words. Jackalyn began teaching the Wilsons some signs and showed their family how to use pictures to help Chris express his needs.
“Once he caught on to the signs and could communicate what he wanted, he felt less frustrated and we did too,” Chelsea said.
Now Chris is in the middle of a “word explosion,” she said.
They are working with him on using more two-word phrases and answering questions.
He’s been trying out new words as he plays with his trucks or goes outside with his brother and has become more independent in trying new things.
Chelsea said she’s thankful for Jackalyn’s coaching, which has helped them give Chris a solid foundation to express himself.
Jackalyn emphasized that Early Intervention works best when families and service providers work as a team.
“Our goal is to be able to provide you with the tools to help,” she said. “But progress happens because of what the families are doing between visits to maximize those skills.
For more information about Early Intervention in Licking County, go to https://lcountydd.org/birth-to-3/. To make an EI referral, please call 1-800-755-4769. You can also make a secure online referral at http://bit.ly/ReferToHMG.