Typical development of a child from its birth to his/her third birthday is such an intricate and delicate process that more is learned abou  it daily. At no other time in a person's life are more developmental strides made than prior to turning three years old. Children are born ready to learn, naturally curious and naturally motivated to make sense of their environments. A child's relationships and experiences during the first three years of life critically influences how the child's brain will grow. (For more about typical development of children in this age group, go to www.zerotothree.org.)


The Arc of Shelby County is a member of the Alabama Early Intervention System, a program of Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services.  Referrals to Early Intervention are accepted directly from parents, childcare providers, physicians, and others.  You may call The Arc of Shelby County at 205-664-9313 , email Jeannine Lyons to make a referral, or you may contact the Alabama Child Find toll-free number 1-800-543-3098For information on other resources, you may access the Central Resource Directory of the Alabama Early Intervention System.

In Alabama a child is eligible for early intervention supports if he is under the age of three and a 25% delay is indicated during an evaluation and assessment in one or more of the following five developmental areas:

  • Cognitive
  • Communicative
  • Physical
  • Adaptive
  • Social/emotional

A child is also eligible for services and supports if he has a diagnosis or a condition that likely will result in a delay in development.

Eligible children and their families are often referred to The Arc of Shelby County for such supports. The service coordinators and specialists at The Arc of Shelby County are here to help you understand those things that you can do to get your baby off to the best possible start, just by using your everyday interactions to teach the basic skills that she will need.

The strength and quality of the relationship between infants or toddlers and their parents is essential for optimal c hild development outcomes to be achieved during this period of rapid social, emotional, physical and cognitive development. The early intervention specialists at The Arc of Shelby County (speech therapist or pathologist, physical therapist, special instructor, nutritionist, service coordinator, occupational therapist, etc.) are there to support the parent and child in the establishment of good teaching habits in that relationship. There is, perhaps, no busier time for a parent than in those first few years of their child's life. Children age birth to three who experience developmental delays experience a wide variety of unique challenges as they and their families set about the task of optimizing the development that occurs during this critical life stage. Often, time constraints are compounded by innumerable doctor visits and other appointments. At The Arc of Shelby County we believe that:

  • Families play the primary role in the care and well-being of their children. Their interaction is the foundation upon which later development is based;
  • The services we provide to children and families who are utilizing our early intervention program should be the highest quality of services available, completely comprehensive, pertinent and
  • Always occur in the communities where there are opportunities for the children to interact with other members of their communities.