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Helping Kids With Developmental Disabilities Long Before School

PHOTO: This fall, a new state initiative kicks off designed to help the parents of children with developmental disabilities close the achievement gap before they get to school. Photo credit: Deborah C. Smith
PHOTO: This fall, a new state initiative kicks off designed to help the parents of children with developmental disabilities close the achievement gap before they get to school. Photo credit: Deborah C. Smith
July 26, 2013

DES MOINES, Iowa – Starting in September the Iowa Department of Education is going to provide educators, therapists and others training to help the parents of children who have developmental disabilities.

Steve Crew, administrative consultant with the department, says the training will focus on children up to age three, and without such training, the parents can often feel lost.

"It provides them with the opportunity to understand how to actually navigate through the system to get the services and supports they need," he explains.

Crew says the gap between the math and reading scores of Iowa school-age children with disabilities and those of their peers is among the largest in the nation.

"By providing this from the early, early ages, we are allowing them to stay on track,” he says, “to keep moving forward as opposed to waiting until they are in kindergarten and then to begin to provide those services."

The program, dubbed the Distance Mentoring Model, is being used successfully in North Dakota, Minnesota and Pennsylvania.


Richard Alan, Public News Service - IA