Washington, D.C. – Mayor Vincent C. Gray and the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) unveiled a new campaign, Sept. 27, that brings attention to the signs of developmental disabilities and delays in children from birth to age three, highlights the long-term benefits of early intervention and provides information on access to treatment services. The campaign’s theme, Don’t Wait and Wonder, aims to encourage anyone with concerns about a child’s development to contact Strong Start, formerly known as the DC Early Intervention Program, for a no cost evaluation and to determine eligibility for services.

Radio and television commercials along with Metro transit ads and other educational materials will promote the campaign to DC residents and help reinforce the importance of early intervention.

“For children with developmental disabilities, we know that early intervention works and that better outcomes are the result,” said Mayor Vincent C. Gray. “My education agenda focuses on a holistic approach to educating our children from birth through age 24, and the Strong Start program is one important component of our efforts. Through this campaign, we are giving children and their families a fighting chance.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 17 percent of children in the United States have a developmental disability. Currently, in the District of Columbia, hundreds of eligible children are not receiving services. Through Strong Start, families will receive individualized care that addresses each child’s specific needs.

The Don’t Wait and Wonder campaign speaks to the mindset of most parents and caregivers who live with denial, uncertainty and fear if they have concerns about their child’s development,” said Hosanna Mahaley, state superintendent for the District of Columbia. “We want to assure those families that we can and will help. We believe that the launch of the campaign in collaboration with other projects including the Mayor’s One City vision, will work to provide that strong start for our children.”

Strong Start services may be provided by health care providers, social workers, physical or mental health specialists, and are based on the individual needs of the child and family. Services are available to both Medicaid and private insurance holders and some services, such as evaluations and service coordination, are provided to families at no cost. To ensure that every child has access to the services they need, Strong Start uses a sliding fee scale to help families in need of assistance.
For information on Strong Start call 202 727-3665 or visit www.strongstartdc.com