New Early Intervention Partnership Serves Children from Birth to Age Three

February 22, 2010

News: For Immediate Release
The City of Winchester and Grafton Announce the Infant and Toddler Connection of the Shenandoah Valley

New Early Intervention Partnership Serves Children from Birth to Age Three

Winchester, VA – February 22,2010 – The City of Winchester will partner with Grafton Schools, Inc. on the Infant and Toddler Connection of the Shenandoah Valley. This program provides early intervention services for local children – from birth to age three – with disabilities.

By managing services under Medicaid part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), this initiative will support the development of infants and toddlers with disabilities from six different localities—Frederick County, Clarke County, Warren County, Page County, Shenandoah County and the City of Winchester. Managed by Virginia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Disability Services, Part C provides federal funds to:

  • Enhance the development of infants and toddlers with disabilities;
  • Minimize the need for special education or institutionalization through early intervention, and;
  • Help families meet their child’s individual needs.

While most private insurance and Medicaid covers early intervention services, it is important to note that families participate in costs based on their income and ability to pay. No family will be denied service because of an inability to pay.

“We are excited to be partnering with Grafton to coordinate the early intervention services for young children with special needs.” said Winchester’s Mayor Elizabeth Minor, “It is important to have a local presence when administering such a critical yet complex program.”

While there are only 129 children currently enrolled in the early intervention program in the Shenandoah Valley region, the Office for Special Education Populations (OSEP) estimates that the number of children eligible for Part C services is 222. Infants and toddlers who are eligible include those with a 25 percent or greater delay in developmental area(s) including those related to brain function, language skills, social/emotional skills and with a diagnosed physical or mental condition that has a high probability of resulting in developmental delay.

“Many parents and childcare providers aren’t aware of the early intervention services which are being made available,” said Gena Zydelis, Infant & Toddler Case Manager, Northwestern Community Services, and service coordinator and point of entry for the Early Intervention Program. “This initiative is very special in that it is designed for the child’s entire circle of support, helping to instruct parents, siblings, day care providers about what they can do. To create awareness of all this program has to offer, Grafton is planning a comprehensive public education campaign.”

With early intervention and IDEA Part C services as the campaign’s focus, parents, pediatricians and day care providers will have a keener understanding as to where they can seek help when a child has developmental challenges.

The program seeks to serve children in their natural environments. Once an onsite assessment is made, an individualized service plan is developed with specific goals and service delivery levels determined by the child’s multidisciplinary team. Both the City of Winchester and Grafton are working in tandem to further enhance services for children, parents, childcare providers and partner agencies.

“Grafton is looking to determine what additional progress can be made in identifying children in need of early intervention,” said the organization’s CEO, Jim Gaynor. “We are committed to continually adapt our services to best support the communities in which we reside.”

For more information about Grafton, please go to

Shweta Adyanthaya, Director of Communications
540-542-0200 ext 6524