Who do we serve?

Infant and Child Development Services are designed to serve families with infants and young children with developmental disability or who are at risk for developmental delay. An infant’s or child’s development may be in jeopardy from one or more of these risk categories:

  • Established risk ♦ These are risks associated with lifelong difficulty in function and are related to diagnosed medical disorders, such as:
    • genetic and chromosomal syndromes (e.g., Down Syndrome)
    • neurological disorders (e.g., seizures, cerebral palsy)
    • congenital malformations of the nervous system (e.g., microcephaly, hydrocephaly)
    • sequelae of infections of the nervous system (e.g., meningitis, encephalitis, HIV, CMV, herpes)
    • metabolic disorders (e.g., untreated hypothyroidism, PKU)
  • Biological risk ♦ These are risks related to a history of prenatal, perinatal, neonatal, early developmental events, or medical conditions which may affect the central nervous system and increase the probability of life-long developmental problems, such as:
    • pre- or perinatal complications (e.g., small for gestational age, anoxia, stroke in utero or during/after birth)
    • prematurity and associated complications (e.g., chronic lung disease, cerebral haemorrhage, jaundice)
    • sensory impairments such as blindness and deafness
    • parent(s) with a developmental disability, neurosensory problem or sibling having a developmental disability of unknown origin
    • early global developmental delays
    • parent(s) with chronic, established mental illness
    • prenatal substance abuse
  • Psychosocial risk ♦ These are risks related to the child’s environment. Infants and young children in this category appear to be biologically sound but are at risk of delayed development because of individual susceptibilities or vulnerabilities magnified by environments which cannot respond adequately to their physical, developmental, and/or social-emotional needs. Psychosocial risk may be associated with:
    • child characteristics, e.g., “difficult” temperament or behavioural characteristics (not including infant mental health disorder or autism)
    • caregiver characteristics, e.g., inexperience or mental health problems
    • attachment difficulties
    • non-organic failure to thrive
    • child neglect or abuse

A diagnosis is not required for families to access infant and child development services. Referrals are made by parents, physicians and community agencies. Check with the local program listed on our web site for more information on the types of services provided.