In October 1986, the United States Congress passed Public Law 99-457, which authorized an early intervention program for children birth-2 years and preschool services for children 3 – 5 years of age identified with a disability.

Help Me Grow

Help Me Grow, Ohio’s Early Intervention (EI) program, supports children from birth through age 2, who are identified with a disability. A program within the Ohio Department of Health, Help Me Grow is located in each of Ohio’s 88 counties. Help Me Grow staff work with parents, community agencies, medical personnel, and childcare providers to provide support to children identified with a disability or developmental delay.

Parents who have concerns regarding their child’s development can refer their infant or toddler to Help Me Grow for a no-cost evaluation conducted by an interdisciplinary Early Intervention team. Children are evaluated for delays in the areas of adaptive behavior, communication, fine and gross motor skills, and social-emotional development using appropriate diagnostic tools. Should the EI team, including the parent, determine that a child has a developmental delay, an Individual Family Services Plan (IFSP), which identifies goals and services in the area(s) of need, is developed.

Services through Help Me Grow are provided until the child reaches 3 years of age, at which time the child may be evaluated by the family’s school district of residence.

The school district’s evaluation team may include a school psychologist, an intervention specialist, speech-language pathologist, or orientation and mobility specialist.

Early intervention is critical for a child with a sensory disability or co-existing sensory disabilities. Collaboration among service providers and between service providers and the family is essential in building the child’s skills and in providing experiences that support the child’s learning and development. Information about the referral process to Help Me Grow services and related resources for early intervention for infants and young children (birth to 3 years) with disabilities are available on the Ohio Bold Beginnings website

Ohio Bold Beginnings

Information about the referral process to Help Me Grow services and related resources for early intervention for infants and young children with disabilities

If you suspect your child may have a vision and/or hearing loss

If you suspect your child may have a vision and/or hearing loss, the Decision Tree: Risk Factors and Behavior Suggesting Possible Vision and/or Hearing Concerns in Young and School-Age Children and the web-based Hearing Loss and Vision Impairment Assessments may help guide decision-making to determine the next steps for an individual child. Both of these assessments provide information based upon the abilities of your child.

Early Intervention Decision Tree

Risk Factors and Behaviors Suggesting a Possible Vision and/or Hearing Concerns in Young Children birth to 3.

Hearing Loss and Vision Impairment Assessments​

Assessments to help determine if a child may have a hearing loss or vision impairment.

OCDBE Services for Infants and Toddlers (birth to 3) with Deafblindness

For a child registered on the Ohio Deafblind Census, the Ohio Center for Deafblind Education provides services and supports to the parents and families of young children with a combined vision-hearing loss (deafblindness). Services include information, resources, webinars, scholarships for conference attendance, and consultation for families and service providers through the Deafblind Technical Assistant Program. Click here for more information about Consultation Services.

Additional OCDBE Resources and Information

Parents Guide for the Identification of Children with Deafblindness

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Educators Guide for the Identification of Students with Deafblindness

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Early Intervention Decision Tree: Guidance for Identification and Program Planning for Children with Vision and/or Hearing Loss

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Making Sense of Early Intervention

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Strategies for Parents to Use in Developing a Foundation for Literacy

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Early Intervention Services for Infants, Toddlers, and Young Children with a Combined Vision-Hearing Loss

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More Information

What is Deafblindness?
OCDBE Services
Ohio Deafblind Census