It's tough for families whose young children have disabilities—and it just got tougher. The Adirondack Birth to Three Alliance was dismayed to hear that Adirondack Arc must close its program in Franklin County that provides services for infants and toddlers with disabilities. The federal government requires that states provide services to infants and toddlers with disabilities, but paying for these services is challenging.
Why is this important? Put simply, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Decades of rigorous research show that intervention is more effective and less costly when it is provided earlier in life rather than later.
Services to young children who have developmental delays lead to later success in school, the workplace, and the community. Families benefit, too: Service providers teach families to better meet their children's special needs. Society benefits through a decreased need for costly special education, and the greater ability of our citizens to succeed academically and join the workforce.
Although New York State serves more children and spends more money for early intervention than any other state, rural areas like ours come up short. The state pays providers only for time spent with a client not for travel time, and providers in our region often travel several hours each day.