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Today's Family Magazine

Early intervention is key for developmental delays

Alex, left, and Teddy Kamensky were both diagnosed with speech delays. Through early intervention, both are well on their way to accomplishing their goals. On the cover: Jaxson Crookall, 2, is enrolled in an early intervention program as well. Photos by Prelude Photography.

By Ante Logarusic

Nothing was wrong but she knew that something just wasn’t right.

Jamie Kamensky’s son Teddy was very good at communicating what he wanted but he wasn’t verbalizing it.  

“We noticed initially that he was making appropriate sounds leading up to his first birthday,” said Kamensky, “However, once he turned one and continued to grow, he wouldn’t use words or noises, he would only point to things or go get them himself.”

Jamie recognized the warning signs.  Her older son Alex had been diagnosed with speech delay, but that diagnosis was delayed due to COVID.  His all-important 9-month and 12-month visits were virtual, and by the time he had his next in-person appointment at 18-months, it was suggested that his speech development be monitored.  At 24-months, his pediatrician suggested Alex be screened. 

“We didn't have in-person doctor visits that would have helped us to screen Alex’s speech delay sooner and we also weren't around any of our friends and family that had children around his age to notice there was a need for support,” she said.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one in six children in the United States experiences at least one developmental delay which could include an impairment in physical, learning, language, or behavior areas. 

When a development delay or behavior is flagged by a pediatrician, some parents might be apprehensive about exploring early intervention or have fears when presented with a potential need for intervention. 

Family support matters. 

“Our family was a bit taken back when we told them that we were going to get Alex evaluated because they didn't truly understand or see that he wasn't communicating appropriately for his age,” says Kamensky, “When we told them that we thought Teddy also needed support, they agreed because of our previous experience with Alex.  They were very supportive throughout the whole process.”

Early intervention is key in assessing, identifying, and assisting children with developmental disabilities and helping kids make progress at an earlier age which ultimately results in greater success.  And Kamensky should know - as a special needs educator, she understands firsthand that children who have received intervention at an earlier age experience more progress and growth than students who don't receive early intervention. 

“When Alex was first diagnosed, we were initially shocked.  It felt like a punch to the gut,” adds Kamensky, “When Teddy started to show signs of speech delay we were a bit sad to see that he wasn't meeting age-appropriate milestones but it was easier to process his needs.  We knew how to react and use available resources.”

Guidance and resources are provided to their children through Broadmoor School in Mentor, which is a part of Lake County Board of Development Disabilities/Deepwood.  Children ages 0-3 years in Lake County who have been evaluated and referred through Help Me Grow are eligible to receive services through Broadmoor School for early intervention. 

“The support network is deeper than you might expect.  A team of professionals at Broadmoor are assigned to meet the specific needs of children in their programs in order to help children and their families flourish,” said Liz Miller, director of children services for the county board and Broadmoor principal. 

Broadmoor’s early intervention program is grounded in the philosophy that young children learn best from familiar people in familiar settings.  Every family has a team that consists of an Ohio early intervention service coordinator, providers, and the family of the child.  The team engages with the child in their home or other places the family spends time.

“We try to imbed everything into a routine and empower the family since they are truly the expert on the child.  What we have learned is that the earlier the involvement, the greater the success,” added Miller.

The results speak for themselves. Teddy has been receiving early intervention services through Broadmoor School since August 2023.  Now, just shy of 3, he has accomplished his original goals of calling family members by their names and using words to make requests.  He is currently working on combining words while playing with his family and peers.  Older brother Alex receives speech services at Broadmoor Integrated Preschool.

Jamie relates that each family has their own journey, and that each child has their specific needs.  She urges those in need to never be afraid to seek support.  Those with questions about their child meeting milestones should reach out for help through the county or through their family’s pediatrician. 

“We learned quickly it takes a village to raise your kids and we have been fortunate to have such a good village,” she said, “The LCBDD/Deepwood has helped our family become closer and understanding of our children's needs and ways.  It has given us support so life isn't as stressful as it could be.  It has established early intervention for our children to help them grow and develop into successful and happy people.  It has shown us a support system and that we aren't alone.  Ultimately, we are beyond grateful for the support we have received and continue to receive.  We feel as though our family and lives are now much better off.”

Anyone can call to make a referral to be evaluated for children zero to age 3 years.  Best of all, it’s free.  If you think something just isn’t right, call 1-800-755-4769 or visit

Learn more about Broadmoor School and the Lake County Board of Developmental Disabilities/Deepwood at