Does My Preschooler Need Help?



Published:

More than 15,000 children ages 3, 4 and 5 in North Carolina currently are receiving services/therapy at no cost through public school preschool programs. Funding is provided through Public Schools of North Carolina, and is available for all children deemed eligible by their school district.

My son began receiving early intervention services when he was 2, and upon his third birthday, his speech therapy services transitioned into a program provided by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. If you suspect your child is in need of special education and related services, you don't have to wait until your child enters kindergarten.

Who Can Get Help?

Eligibility for the N.C. Preschool Program through N.C. Early Intervention Services (www.ncei.org/ei) is based on one-on-one observation, screening tests and evaluation results. Categories include developmental delays, autism spectrum disorders, hearing impairment, speech or language impairment and others. An Individualized Education Program (IEP) team, which includes the child's parents and preschool teachers, look over the results and determine what services are needed and the best path for the child to help him or her succeed academically.

What Services are Available?

There are a number of Preschool Program services available to children, including occupational therapy, physical therapy, audiology services (hearing) and speech-language therapy. The school district typically has a variety of service options available for families and the benefit of tapping into services early is that you're able to develop an IEP for your child that will go with him or her from school to school, requiring administrators, teachers and other staff to work together toward improved educational results for your child.

My son began receiving services at age 2 through Children's Developmental Services Agency of Mecklenburg County. A few months before his third birthday, our service coordinator helped us make the transition for him to begin receiving speech therapy through Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. But. because my oldest child never had a problem with language, I had no idea of the array of services available for children in our area. Now, my son receives speech-language therapy at one of the local elementary schools near us.

Laurie Maddex of Monroe says her 3-year-old son Chase, who has Down syndrome, transitioned last year from services through the N.C. Infant Toddler Program to an Exceptional Children preschool program at Waxhaw Elementary. There, he receives speech, physical and occupational therapy.

"Our coordinator sat with us in the IEP meetings and made everything really seamless," says Maddex.

Where to Start?

If your preschooler is not already been receiving services through your county's Early Intervention program, contact your school system's Exceptional Children program to inquire about having him or her evaluated. Here are the contact numbers:

• Cabarrus County — 704-262-6118

• Charlotte-Mecklenburg — 980-343-6960

• Iredell County — 704-872-8115

• Gaston County — 704-866-6160

• Lincoln County — 704-736-4992

• Union County — 704-283-3596

Early Intervention Step By Step

Parents in Mecklenburg County who are concerned about delays their child might have are entitled to have their child evaluated for free through Children's Developmental Services Agency of Mecklenburg County before the age of 3. Parents in other counties should visit www.ncei.org/ei to find out about free infant-toddler evaluations where they live.

"We're the lead public agency for children birth to age 3," says John Ellis, director of CDSA of Mecklenburg County. "The goal is to get children and their families identified early."

After making an initial phone call, the agency has 45 days to complete an initial evaluation of a child and determine his or her eligibility. A service coordinator works to develop an Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP). Once the plan is in place, services begin within 30 days. The Infant-Toddler Program works with a network of service providers to provide services at a sliding scale, until free services can begin through the public school system at age 3.

"We are very fortunate in this community in that it is a resource-rich area," says Ellis, regarding the number of therapists in Mecklenburg County available to work with children at any given time. "All of our work happens in a family's (home) environment."

Huntersville mom Jenna Tyrell began receiving services for her premature twin sons when they were 9 months old. Luke, now 3-1/2, who is hearing impaired, transitioned into the CMS Exceptional Children program, and he now receives weekly audiology services.

Tyrell encourages all parents who have concerns about their child's development to inquire about early intervention services. "I don't care if you think (your kids) are perfect," she says. "You should find out and be on top of it. Because of how amazing the program was for my family, I've pushed all my friends to get tested."

Other Services for Children

BabyNet — S. C. Early Intervention
803-734-0479
www.scfirststeps.org/babynet.html

S.C. Office of Exceptional Children
803-734-8224
http://ed.sc.gov/agency/Standards-and-Learning/Exceptional-Children/old/ec

ZFive
Mecklenburg County services for the emotional/mental and social health of children ages birth-5.
www.zfive.org

Renee Roberson is a Huntersvlle mom and freelance writer.
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Calendar

February 2016

Join a naturalist and venture deep into the preserve to see what roams around during winter. At the end, warm up by sipping hot cocoa while watching the birds in the garden. 

Cost: FREE.

Where:
Reedy Creek Nature Preserve
2900 Rocky River Road
Charlotte, NC
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Cost: Free with admission.

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Discovery Place KIDS
105 Gilead Road
Huntersville, NC
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Cost: $3-$5, includes museum admission

Where:
Museum of York County
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1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
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Cost: $12+

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Children's Theatre of Charlotte
300 E. 7th St.
Charlotte, NC
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Cost: Free

Where:
ImaginOn: The Joe and Joan Martin Center
300 E. 7th St.
Charlotte, NC
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Sponsor: Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
Telephone: 704-416-4630
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Cost: Free

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Reedy Creek Nature Center
2900 Rocky River Road
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Cost: Free

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McDowell Nature Center
15222 York Road
Charlotte, NC  28278
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Telephone: 704-588-5224
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Cost: $3-$5, includes museum admission

Where:
Museum of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC  29732
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Sponsor: Cultural and Heritage Museums
Telephone: 803-909-7244
Contact Name: Marie Cheek
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Cost: Free

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Mooresville Public Library
304 South Main St.
Mooresville, NC
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Telephone: 704-664-2927
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Cost: Free

Where:
Beatties Ford Road Regional Library
2412 Beatties Ford Road
Charlotte, NC
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Cost: $5-$8

Where:
Levine Museum of the New South
200 E. 7th St.
Charlotte, NC
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Telephone: 704-333-1887
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Cost: $4-$10, includes museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
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Cost: $3-$5, includes museum admission

Where:
Museum of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC  29732
View map »


Sponsor: Cultural and Heritage Museums
Telephone: 803-909-7244
Contact Name: Marie Cheek
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Cost: Free

Where:
Mooresville Public Library
304 South Main St.
Mooresville, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-664-2927
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Where:
Levine Museum of the New South
200 E. 7th St.
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View map »


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Featuring a full-scale model of Titanoboa and clips from a Smithsonian Channel documentary, the exhibition delves into the discovery, reconstruction, and implications of this enormous...

Cost: $4-$10, includes museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

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Cost: $29.50+

Where:
Belk Theater, Blumenthal Performing Arts
130 N. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC
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Telephone: 704-372-1000
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Cost: Free

Where:
ImaginOn: The Joe and Joan Martin Center
300 E. 7th St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
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Telephone: 704-416-4630
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Cost: $3-$5, includes museum admission

Where:
Museum of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC  29732
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Sponsor: Cultural and Heritage Museums
Telephone: 803-909-7244
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Cost: $5

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Main Street Children's Museum
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Cost: Free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph | 2730 Randolph Road
Mint Museum Uptown | 500 South Tryon Street
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Cost: $5-$8

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Levine Museum of the New South
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View map »


Telephone: 704-333-1887
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Featuring a full-scale model of Titanoboa and clips from a Smithsonian Channel documentary, the exhibition delves into the discovery, reconstruction, and implications of this enormous...

Cost: $4-$10, includes museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Based on the novel by Roald Dahl, watch the story of an extraordinary girl who dreams of a better life. Showtimes: Wed.-Thurs., 7:30pm; Fri., 8pm; Sat., 2 and 8pm; Sun., 1:30 and 7pm.

Cost: $29.50+

Where:
Belk Theater, Blumenthal Performing Arts
130 N. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-1000
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Cost: $3-$6, includes museum admission

Where:
Historic Brattonsville
1444 Brattonsville Road
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Telephone: 803-684-2327
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Cost: FREE

Where:
Chick-fil-A StoneCest at Piper Glen
7910 Rea Rd
Charlotte, NC  28277
View map »

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Features artwork of over 30 artists, created in a range of artistic styles and media including pencil, ink, watercolor, and woodcut. Families can also expect interactive components.

Cost: $3-$5, includes museum admission

Where:
Museum of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC  29732
View map »


Sponsor: Cultural and Heritage Museums
Telephone: 803-909-7244
Contact Name: Marie Cheek
Website »

More information

Explore the surprising ways that Latinos are shaping the South and how the South is shaping Latinos. Museum hours: Mon.-Sat., 10am-5pm; Sun., Noon-5pm.

Cost: $5-$8

Where:
Levine Museum of the New South
200 E. 7th St.
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

Featuring a full-scale model of Titanoboa and clips from a Smithsonian Channel documentary, the exhibition delves into the discovery, reconstruction, and implications of this enormous...

Cost: $4-$10, includes museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Based on the novel by Roald Dahl, watch the story of an extraordinary girl who dreams of a better life. Showtimes: Wed.-Thurs., 7:30pm; Fri., 8pm; Sat., 2 and 8pm; Sun., 1:30 and 7pm.

Cost: $29.50+

Where:
Belk Theater, Blumenthal Performing Arts
130 N. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Features artwork of over 30 artists, created in a range of artistic styles and media including pencil, ink, watercolor, and woodcut. Families can also expect interactive components.

Cost: $3-$5, includes museum admission

Where:
Museum of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC  29732
View map »


Sponsor: Cultural and Heritage Museums
Telephone: 803-909-7244
Contact Name: Marie Cheek
Website »

More information

In this free, 90-minute workshop, kids can go behind the scenes to learn how to code, program, and play in their own gaming world. Register today at www.microsoftstore.com/southpark as...

Cost: FREE.

Where:
SouthPark Microsoft Store
4400 Sharon Rd
Charlotte , NC  28211
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Telephone: 704-916-6610

More information

Explore the surprising ways that Latinos are shaping the South and how the South is shaping Latinos. Museum hours: Mon.-Sat., 10am-5pm; Sun., Noon-5pm.

Cost: $5-$8

Where:
Levine Museum of the New South
200 E. 7th St.
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

Featuring a full-scale model of Titanoboa and clips from a Smithsonian Channel documentary, the exhibition delves into the discovery, reconstruction, and implications of this enormous...

Cost: $4-$10, includes museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Based on the novel by Roald Dahl, watch the story of an extraordinary girl who dreams of a better life. Showtimes: Wed.-Thurs., 7:30pm; Fri., 8pm; Sat., 2 and 8pm; Sun., 1:30 and 7pm.

Cost: $29.50+

Where:
Belk Theater, Blumenthal Performing Arts
130 N. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

Amid the chaos of citizens being charged to use public restrooms from a terrible water shortage, a Gotham hero plans a revolution to help lead his community to freedom.

Cost: $12-$18

Where:
Fullwood Theater
100 Mcdowell St. East
Matthews, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Led by local York County birders, help count the different species by listening to their songs and by spying their outlines and colors in a winter habitat. Dress for the weather, this program...

Cost: $5, includes museum admission

Where:
Museum of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Sponsor: Cultural and Heritage Museums
Telephone: 803-909-7244
Contact Name: Marie Cheek
Website »

More information

Storytelling, children's crafts, activities, and games. Fairy, gnome, and other appropriate costumes are encouraged but not required. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Latta Plantation Nature Center
6211 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-875-1391
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More information

Learn about birds through a naturalist and participate in activities for kids.

Cost: Free

Where:
Reedy Creek Nature Center
2900 Rocky River Road
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-432-6459
Website »

More information

Featuring favorite children’s movie music, including Disney Classics such as “It’s A Small World” and “Let It Go.”

Cost: $19.50-$24.50

Where:
Knight Theater
430 S. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

View six historic works created by African-American choreographers Talley Beatty, Asadata Dafora, Katherine Dunham, Bill T. Jones, Donald McKayle and Pearl Primus, filmed by the American Dance...

Cost: Free with admission.

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

 Participate in hands-on art activities, special museum tours and more.  Explore the abstract art of Sam Francis by making a watercolor painting. Also, create handmade...

Cost: Free for children, $8 for the general public

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-353-9208
Website »

More information

Learn about the various relationships that exist amongst organisms.

Cost: $4-$10, includes admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

In commemoration of Black History Month, join in a family program that celebrates the history of African Americans.

Cost: FREE.

Where:
The Charlotte Museum of History
3500 Shamrock Drive
Charlotte, NC  28215
View map »


Telephone: 704-568-1774
Website »

More information

The Kratt Brothers activate some fan favorite creature power suits to confront a comic villain. Through hilarious pratfalls and amazing animal wow facts the...

Cost: Starting at $27.75

Where:
Ovens Auditorium
2700 E. Independence Blvd.
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Telephone: 800-745-3000
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More information

Features artwork of over 30 artists, created in a range of artistic styles and media including pencil, ink, watercolor, and woodcut. Families can also expect interactive components.

Cost: $3-$5, includes museum admission

Where:
Museum of York County
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC  29732
View map »


Sponsor: Cultural and Heritage Museums
Telephone: 803-909-7244
Contact Name: Marie Cheek
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Enjoy making special Valentine crafts to share with family and friends.

Cost: $5

Where:
Main Street Children's Museum
133 E. Main St.
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

     Reed Gold Mine State Historic Site will offer “Black Gold: North Carolina Slavery and Reed Gold Mine” tours every Saturday in February at 1 p.m. and...

Cost: $2 for 8 and older, ages 7 and under free

Where:
Reed Gold Mine
9621 Reed Mine Road
Midland, NC  28107
View map »


Sponsor: Reed Gold Mine
Telephone: 704-721-4653 x211
Website »

More information

Explore books in creative ways through interactive activities including math and science.

Cost: Free

Where:
ImaginOn: The Joe and Joan Martin Center
300 E. 7th St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Website »

More information

Explore the surprising ways that Latinos are shaping the South and how the South is shaping Latinos. Museum hours: Mon.-Sat., 10am-5pm; Sun., Noon-5pm.

Cost: $5-$8

Where:
Levine Museum of the New South
200 E. 7th St.
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-333-1887
Website »

More information

Featuring a full-scale model of Titanoboa and clips from a Smithsonian Channel documentary, the exhibition delves into the discovery, reconstruction, and implications of this enormous...

Cost: $4-$10, includes museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Based on the novel by Roald Dahl, watch the story of an extraordinary girl who dreams of a better life. Showtimes: Wed.-Thurs., 7:30pm; Fri., 8pm; Sat., 2 and 8pm; Sun., 1:30 and 7pm.

Cost: $29.50+

Where:
Belk Theater, Blumenthal Performing Arts
130 N. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

Amid the chaos of citizens being charged to use public restrooms from a terrible water shortage, a Gotham hero plans a revolution to help lead his community to freedom.

Cost: $12-$18

Where:
Fullwood Theater
100 Mcdowell St. East
Matthews, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
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