Our Infant Development Program is part of the Early Intervention Team. This team consists of Infant Development Consultants, Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists, Speech-language Pathologists, Physicians, Public Health Nurses, and Supported Child Development Consultants.
The Infant Development Program serves infants who are at risk for any type of developmental delay. In addition a number of supports are in place for families of infants who have a developmental delay. Children are not required to have a diagnosis for families to access our services. Referrals to the program may be made by parents, health professionals, or other community members.
Interventions for children with behaviour concerns, developmental delays or disabilities may be most effective if begun early in the child's life. Infancy is an important period of life and delays in development during this period may have long-lasting effects on the development of the child as well as on the patterns of interaction between the child, family and community.
The Infant Development Program is a home-based service. Consultants assess children's development through play, and offer suggestions and activities to families to assist with their child's development
The Infant Development Program works with families to optimize a child's development to:
• become more independent
• discover his or her abilities
• learn new skills
The Infant Development Program can help you to:
• learn ways to help your child's progress
• learn more about your child's development
• meet other parents
• learn more about supports and services available to you in the community
Referrals made by parents, physicians, public health nurses and other community professionals assess developmental concerns in young children. Infants can fall within one or more of the following risk factor categories:
• Established risk - Infants who have diagnosed medical disorders. An established range of developmental disabilities may be associated with these disorders, which include genetic and chromosomal syndromes; neurological disorders; congenital malformations of the nervous system; sequellae of infections of the nervous system; metabolic disorders and others.
• Biological risk - Infants who have a history of prenatal, perinatal, neonatal, and/or early developmental events that may have affected the central nervous system and may result in developmental difficulties for the child. Biological complications may include: birth asphyxia or trauma; prematurity; physically disabling conditions; increased genetic risk for disability; apparent global developmental delays.
• Psychosocial risk - Infants who have a statistically increased probability of delayed development because of individual susceptibilities that are aggravated by environments in which there may be inadequate response to the infant's physical, developmental and/or social-emotional needs. Parental inexperience/developmental delays or mental health problems, attachment difficulties, non-organic failure to thrive and child neglect or abuse are included in this category.
Services provided are tailored to child and family need and may include:
• Home visits
• Informal and child assessment and family needs assessment, using a variety of tools
• Support to enhance parenting skills and increased understanding of child development
• Sharing information on typical and atypical child growth and development
• Intervention to promote positive parent-infant interactions and support for the relationship
• Planning interventions to promote secure infant attachment
• Early intervention in all developmental domains (gross motor, fine motor, social and emotional, language and cognitive)
• Assistance to families in connecting with other families for parent to parent support
• Assistance to families in accessing more specialized services and information about additional community resources and supports
• Assistance to parents in obtaining information about their child's condition or diagnosis
• Support to the family when a diagnosis of developmental delay or medical condition exists
• Acting as service coordinator or supporting a family member or other professional in this role
• Advocacy for and with families in their relationships with health, social and community services
• Provision of parent-child group programs (Parents & Tots) or support to families in accessing community programs
• Community-wide planning with other service providers to prevent duplication or fragmentation of service and to identify gaps in service
• Public education to promote the benefits of early identification, intervention for child and families at risk
• Infant massage
infant-massageWithin a family-centered philosophy, the infant development consultant supports families in the identification of their needs, resources and service requirements. The family's involvement and participation is a recognized key factor in the achievement of successful outcomes. Collaboration across individual professionals and agencies is also key to ensure that family life is strengthened rather than stressed by intervention.
The Parent & Tot Program is held Tuesday mornings from 10:00-12:00 at our Services for Community Living Program located at 4521 Dogwood Street, Port Alberni, BC
This group meets once a week and provides learning and social opportunities for families and their children. During the group we try to ensure that our activities meet the individual needs of each child. We have an age range of children from newborns to 5 years.
We ensure that the babies have a safe place to explore on their tummies, space for toddlers to explore both gross and fine motor activities, and the preschoolers to experience art activities, water play, science and more
Infant Massage Classes
• Relaxes the child and helps to decrease stress for you and your baby
• Relieves discomfort from constipation, gas, and colic
• Helps normalize muscle tone and improve blood circulation
• Helps baby sleep better
• Stimulates brain development and improves sensory awareness
• Babies cry less, as the parent is more responsive to babies' cues
• Promotes bonding and attachment
We also have a Toy Library and a Resource Library available.
For more information about the Infant Development Program, call:
• Lorna Neuwirth at 778-421-4404 option 1 or
• Angela Schomberg at 778-421-4404 option 2
More information on the Infant Development programs of British Columbia can be found at Infant Development Program of BC.