New D.C. campaign stresses importance of early intervention

D.C. is reaching out to support some of our youngest, most vulnerable residents--children under three who have developmental delays. Today the Office of the State Superintendent of Education announced the kickoff of the Strong Start Campaign, to increase awareness of early intervention and provide a starting point for parents whose babies or toddlers may have a developmental delay. Expect to hear and see the print, radio and television ads urging parents to call Strong Start DC and not to “wait and wonder.”

Leaders in our city’s education and human services came together with a parent advocate to launch the campaign. Intervening early, at the first sign of a developmental concern, is crucial to ensuring that children are successful when they enter school and as they progress through their education. The D.C. Early Intervention Program is responsible for screening children and then providing services to those who qualify. The District provides a broad array of services from occupational, physical and speech language therapy, to special instruction, to services to support families. The Strong Start Campaign is targeting a broad audience -- from parents to children care providers to doctors— to increase awareness and provide more children with the strong start they deserve.

This campaign follows the success of the Early Stages program in screening and identifying children ages 3-5 with developmental delays. Among the many important issues discussed during today’s launch was the need for a coordinated transition as children move between the 0-3 stage to the 3-5 stage and then to kindergarten. Also important is a continuum of services to support children and their families.

If you haven't already, take a moment to sign on to our High 5 for DC's Kids campaign, which we launched a year ago.