The Chesterfield Community Services Board will receive $360,486 in federal stimulus funds to assist with services for children with developmental disabilities.
The funds will go specifically to the Infant and Toddler Connection of Chesterfield, a program in Mental Health Support Services. The program helps infants and children up to age three who have developmental delays including Autism, Down syndrome, or hearing or speech impairments.
Program staff work with families to set developmental goals for the children and provide therapies that can help overcome or offset the effects of their delays. The program currently serves about 225 children.
Early intervention with any type of developmental delay is critical since delays can worsen as children grow older without treatment. “If these services are delayed, developmental services also become more costly to the school system, to the medical community, to the family and to the community as a whole,” said Karen Waters, manager of the program.
The money will be used to provide these services in settings more familiar to the child such as the home or daycare. "Research shows that children respond better to therapies provided in these natural environments rather than in unfamiliar settings, " Waters said.