Spotting early signs

Do you suspect your infant may have a disability?

You may be questioning if your young child has a disability and how best to assist them. Downey-Montebello SELPA is here to help your child and your family. Our Early Program services are offered to children from birth to 3 years of age who show signs of a disability (including hearing loss and visual or orthopedic impairments) or have a condition that could cause a developmental delay. The first five years are very important in a child’s life. The sooner a concern is identified, the sooner a child and family can receive specialized services to support growth and development.

How SELPA Helps

SELPA provides Early Intervention Services for infants and toddlers. These public services are free and designed to meet the developmental needs of infants and toddlers with disabilities, as well as the needs of their families to properly assist them. 

SELPA helps with disabilities of physical, cognitive, communication, social or emotional, and adaptive development with the goal of providing opportunities to learn and grow. SELPA strives for those in the program to reach their highest developmental potentials. 

Services include but are not limited to vision services, audiological services, physical therapy, special instruction, and speech therapy. Each family receives an Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) to best respond to their needs.

Common signs of infant disabilities

It is important to keep in mind that children develop at different rates and in different ways. These differences may be related to temperament, personality, experiences, or health needs that affect their development. The following signs may be cause for concern in any child regardless of age.

  • Often has earaches and other ear, nose, or throat infections
  • Does not seem to acknowledge where sounds are coming from: either looks the wrong direction or doesn’t respond at all
  • Talks loudly or unusually as if they cannot hear their volume or pitch
  • Leans into sounds ear-first as if to hear better
  • Difficulty learning to speak
  • Eyes don’t move together or move quickly/wander
  • Has a hard time seeing at night
  • Moves closer to objects to better see (TVs, books, etc.)
  • Often rubs eyes
  • Eyes are frequently crusty or runny while pupils are cloudy
  • Only uses one eye (closes the other or tilts head so one eye is turned away from what they are looking at)
  • Arms or legs seem stiff 
  • Moves away when hugged
  • Coordination is unusually low
  • Difficulty hitting age-related movement milestones
    • Does not hold their head up in their first six months
    • Isn’t crawling in their first year
    • Does not walk alone or has difficulty holding scribbling by age two
  • Avoids eye contact
  • Excessive repetition of movement or other action
  • Difficult to comfort and easily frustrated
  • Obsessive behaviors/difficulty adapting
  • Acts unusually aggressive
  • Difficulty hitting age-related behavior milestones
    • Does not smile or interact with others in their first year
    • Does not play games by age one
  • Has a hard time expressing themselves
  • Difficulty hitting age-related communication milestones such as:
    • Making noises to communicate and using simple words in their first year
    • Is not babbling to get attention by six months
    • Does not point at wants in their second year
  • Doesn’t seem to pay attention to faces; doesn’t seem to recognize people at a distance
  • Often can’t focus; doesn’t follow things with eyes
  • Difficulty hitting age-related communication milestones such as:
    • In their second year, does not point to body parts when asked such questions such as “Where is your nose?”
Sometimes I wonder if I’m as famous for my wheelchair and disabilities as I am for my discoveries.”  — Stephen Hawking

Contact Us

For children 3 years and younger.

9625 Van Ruiten Street, Room K1, Bellflower, CA 90706

(562) 469-6790

(562) 469-7175