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Arc of Stanly advocate discusses importance of early intervention for children with disabilities

Down Syndrome Support GroupJeanette Wilhelm speaks to Down syndrome support group Feb. 16

It is essential that children with developmental delays become involved early on in the services that focus on early developmental skills, according to Jeanette Wilhelm, advocate for The Arc of Stanly and Monarch.

Wilhelm will serve as guest speaker for members and guests of the Down syndrome support group on Feb. 16 in Locust. The veteran advocate will share information about the importance of early intervention, where parents and guardians of people with disability should start and how the system focuses on helping eligible babies and toddlers learn the basics as well as brand new skills that typically develop during the first three years of life.

Early intervention is a system of services that helps babies and toddlers with developmental delays or disabilities. Early intervention is available in every state and territory of the United States. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires it, said Wilhelm, who is a parent of a son with disabilities and advocacy specialist who is well versed on IDEA.  

“It is a major priority to have family-directed services that are meant to help family members understand the needs of their child and enhance his/her development,” Wilhelm said. “It is important to call Access of your local Managed Care Organization to get into the system. We live in a time where services change faster than we can get information out about them.”

The Down syndrome support group, which meets every other month, will convene at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 16 at the Fresh House in Locust. Brunch will be served. For details, please contact Hannah Stroupe at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To learn more about The Arc of Stanly and Monarch’s advocacy initiatives, please contact Jeanette Wilhelm at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (704) 986-7234.

Pictured above: Families who attended the Feb. 16 Down Syndrome support group meeting in Locust take a minute to gather for a photo.

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