CLEARFIELD – A new program at the Joseph & Elizabeth Shaw Public Library will help parents track their child’s milestones.
The library and CenClear Child Services have partnered to offer early childhood screenings for parents with children under age 3 as part of CenClear’s Early Intervention Program.
Library Director Lisa Coval regularly interacts with first-time mothers and grandparents who may not be as familiar with developmental milestones and who actively seek reassurance that their child is on track.
Additionally, she said other parents express concerns over their child not listening or communicating well, not being able to follow simple directions or not playing well with siblings or other children.
Coval said the library has provided a long-standing and successful story time program for families with infants and toddlers, but discovered this growing need for childhood development resources.
“The biggest problem for families is they don’t know where to go,” said JoAnn Seltzer, CenClear public relations and marketing specialist. “… If you have a 1-year-old, you’re lost.”
“It’s also never too early and it’s never too late to look into having an evaluation and/or services for your child,” added Early Intervention Program Special Instructor Hope Pistner.
Originally, Coval said the library and CenClear planned to begin offering the early screening program this spring, but it was delayed until summer because the library was shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Upcoming screenings will take place Sept. 15, Oct. 15, Nov. 12 and Dec. 10, from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., at the library. Screenings take approximately 15 minutes, and all information remains confidential.
CenClear will complete the screening process with families individually, while practicing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Pennsylvania Department of Health social distancing and public health measures.
Pistner said parents will be asked a series of questions about areas of their child’s development. From that, they’ll determine if a referral should be made for a more thorough evaluation that determines a child’s eligibility for services.
Even if a referral isn’t made following the screening, she said that any parent may request an evaluation. Or they can opt to seek other services with CenClear, or both. “There’s no limitations on their concerns.”
Pistner said Early Intervention Program services are provided to children demonstrating “delays” or disabilities in the cognitive, social, communication, physical, self-help or behavioral areas.
Services available include occupational, physical, speech and hearing/vision therapies and special instruction (developmental teacher), and are provided in the child’s natural learning environment – home, community, childcare, etc.
To be eligible, children (birth to 3 years) must have a documented delay of 25 percent in one or more developmental areas. Funded by the state, the services are free to parents and there are no income guidelines.
“… We really want to reach as many families as possible,” Pistner said, “and it’s important especially right now because maybe they haven’t had their child seen by a doctor in a while.
“It’s a simple process and a chance to get to know your child a little better – all their strengths and also some things that we can help out with …. plus, it takes those obstacles away before their school journey.”
Early Intervention Program services are currently available to parents and children in Clearfield, Centre, Armstrong, Elk, Cameron, Huntingdon, Indiana, Jefferson, Juniata and Mifflin counties.
For more information, contact the library at 814-765-3271 or CenClear at 814-342-5678, Ext. 2237. Any parents who would prefer to complete a screening by phone should contact Pistner at 814-342-5678, Ext. 4218.
For more information on the Early Intervention Program, visit CenClear’s Web site. Or you can call 1-800-525-5437.