created at: 2010-10-13Do you ever worry about how your child plays, learns, speaks or acts? Parents frequently have questions about their young child’s development. Variations in development occur, and while each child grows at his or her own rate, some developmental differences do indicate a need for further evaluation.

As a parent, you know your child best. If you sense there may be a problem, your first step is to reference a reliable developmental milestones checklist, such as the one recommended by Gateways.

If you are still concerned and your child attends an early learning center, discuss your concerns with the teachers and center director. And talk to your child’s pediatrician to request a developmental screening–a play-based evaluation designed to identify any potential developmental delays. Early evaluation and intervention are proven to make all the difference for nearly every child, and are a family’s right by law. Massachusetts provides affordable services for children from birth to age 3 through the Department of Public Health’s Early Intervention Programs. Local public school systems offer therapeutic and/or educational services for children 3 to 5 who have been screened and are eligible.

CJP provides funds for special education grants to Jewish early childhood programs that support on-site consultation by specialists, as well as professional development for staff.

Don’t wait! Help is readily available. We encourage you to refer to our resource list below, or contact the Gateways Early Childhood Development Team at 617-630-9010 ext. 108 or at

Recommended Resources

Early Childhood Special Education Services Directory

Early Intervention Service for Massachusetts

Jewish Community Centers of Greater Boston Special Needs Offerings

LiveJournal Community Site for Parents with Children Who Have Special Needs

National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities

PACER Center: Champions for Children with Disabilities

The Federation for Children with Special Needs

Yesodot: Serving Families Challenged with Disabilities

Sherry Grossman is the community special education services coordinator at Gateways: Access to Jewish Education.