Birth to 3

Birth to 3 is an early intervention program for all children from birth to 36 months (3 years) who have a diagnosed disability, move in ways that are not typical, or show a big delay in development.

The early intervention team will evaluate your child's:

  • Cognitive Development (ability to learn)
  • Sensorimotor Development (move, see, hear)
  • Speech and Language Development (able to understand others and make own needs known)
  • Adaptive Development (daily tasks such as dressing, playing, brushing teeth)

The Birth to 3 staff strives to help the family understand and be a part of the evaluation process. The services and support a child and family receive are based on their needs.

If you have concerns about your child's growth, development or learning we encourage you to call the Polk County Birth to 3 Early Intervention Program for a FREE screening at 715-485-8585.

Click here for a referral form for the Birth to 3 Program.

Additional Resources:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” initiative includes resources on milestones checklist and parenting tips. 
Go to:   Information is also available in Spanish. 

ZERO TO THREE: National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families includes resources on behavior, development, child care and school readiness.
Go to:

Autism Speaks includes resources on Autism Spectrum Disorder, signs of autism and resources available to children with autism and their families. 
Go to:

The CDC has released an app for parents or caregivers to download to track progress of developmental milestones.

Milestone Tracker
Adobe Acrobat document [311.1 KB]

The most important thing you can do with your child is Talk, Read, Play and Sing
Talk, Read, Play, Sing.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [423.6 KB]

Polk County Early Childhood Family Resource Guide
PC Early Childhood Resources 2022.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [417.9 KB]

Frequently Asked Questions

What services and support may be available
If your child is eligible to receive Birth to 3 services, Birth to 3 staff generally works with your family to see that you and your child are getting the support and services you need. Birth to 3 works with you in your environment (usually in your home or at a child care center). Some of the services and support that may be provided include:

  • Speech Therapy/Communication
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Developmental Education
  • Physical Therapy
  • Assistive Technology
  • Family Education
  • Health Services
  • Nutrition Services
What will this cost
  • Family income does not determine eligibility for the Birth to 3 Program.
  • Developmental screening, evaluation and service coordination are provided at no cost to the family.
  • Medical Assistance and, with the family's permission, insurance companies may be billed for services.
  • Families who qualify due to income will be asked to pay for cost share. Please see the document below.

Cost Share for Families
If you have more than 1 child enrolled in the Birth to 3 program look to the bottom left-hand corner of the page and select the tab with the number of children you have enrolled.
Family Cost Share Table 2022.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [1.1 MB]
Why are Birth to 3 services important
Young children learn and develop differently. One baby may walk earlier than another, while another may talk first. Often, these differences will even out. However, some children need a little extra help.

The first years of your child's life are the most important for development. Providing the right early intervention services to infants and toddlers can make a difference that last a lifetime.
What to look for
Children develop at their own pace, and babies reach milestones at different ages.  If you suspect a developmental delay, it is important that you bring it to the attention of your doctor or the Early Intervention Program staff.

Developmental Milestones

Explore the checklist below to see if your child has developed the skills for their age:

Developemental Milestone Checklist
B-3 Flyer Color.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [39.3 KB]

Sensory and Motor

A child's sensory (senses) and motor (moving) skills are used together to explore the world. Sometimes as parents you become worried about how your child is moving or behaving. If your child experiences three or more items from the list below, your child may be having a hard time and you should contact Birth to 3 for a free screening.


  • Dislikes having their face or hair washed
  • Dislikes being touched, held or cuddled
  • Purposely bangs their head
  • Overly sensitive to food or water temperature


  • Diagnosed with a visual problem
  • Trouble tracking objects with their eyes
  • Becomes distracted from visual stimulation


  • Diagnosed with a hearing problem
  • Significant history of ear infection
  • Sensitive to sounds and startles easily
  • Seems to miss sounds


  • Arches their back while being held
  • Rocks while sitting
  • Body tone seems stiff or floppy
  • Avoids swings, stairs or rough play


  • Spits up often as a baby or has a history of reflux
  • Gags or chokes easily when eating
  • Picky eater, avoids certain food textures
  • Stuffs mouth while eating


  • Intense, easily frustrated
  • Hyperactive, seems to be always in motion
  • Very set in their ways
  • Trouble changing from one activity to another

Social Interactions

  • Avoids eye contact with other people
  • Fearful of new people or situations
  • Pinches, bites or hurts themselves
Who can make a referral
- Parents              - Family members
- Physicians        - Social workers
- Therapists         - Childcare providers
- Anyone concerned with the child's development

See below for the referral form or contact Dawn Larson at 715-485-8585.

Form -Referral - Provider Referral.doc
Microsoft Word document [66.0 KB]

Birth to 3 Referral Form.docx
Microsoft Word document [39.3 KB]

What happens after a referral is made?

Families are contacted by the Polk County Birth to 3 staff. All information is voluntary and confidential.
Links for more information
  • Zero to Three: offers an interactive resource for parents and early childhood education professionals on healthy development of children ages zero to three.
  • Autism Speaks: Contains information for parents, on advocacy, research, and how to get involved.
  • M-Chat: A screening tool.
  • Milestone Tracker App: Use the app as your child ages.