We Are Here To Help

Early Start Inc. is an Early Intervention program that evaluates and provides therapeutic services for children from birth to age three who are suspected or known to have developmental delays. Early Start is an approved provider of Early Intervention services and is under contract with the NYC Dept of Health and Mental Hygiene.

The Program

The program is directed by a special education teacher and a licensed psychologist who have over 30 years of combined experience working with developmentally delayed individuals and their families.

All services are provided at no-out-of-pocket-cost to parents, but health insurance may be accessed for reimbursement for eligible children and their families.

Eligibility for early intervention services is determined by state approved evaluators under contract with NYC Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene. All services for eligible children are identified in collaboration with parents and authorized by NYC Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene. Parents are responsible for fees incurred when early intervention services are provided in child care settings or community locations.

All children must be referred to NYC’s Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene in order to access Early Intervention Services. Please call 311 for more details.

Developmental Milestones

If your child is not meeting the following milestones at their given age range, there may be cause for concern. We are here to help.

1-3 Months:

On back with head to one side. Looks at mobiles and faces, random kicking and waving on tummy, lifts head momentarily. Smiles responsively, coos, looks at hands, hands are open 50% of the time.

4-6 Months:

On back with head to center. Hands together, plays with fingers, shakes rattle, babbles, vocalizes in mirror, bears weight on feet when supported, reaches for toys, brings toys to mouth, rolls from tummy to back, sits with help.

7-9 Months:

Puts feet in mouth, crawls on tummy or knees, rolls from back to tummy, bangs toys, changes toys between hands, sits for a long time, goes to tummy, bounces in standing, stands holding on, pokes at objects with index finger.

10-12 Months:

Pulls to stand, gets back to floor, says da-da, ma-ma, understands “no”, walks around furniture, walks with one hand held, scribbles with crayon, picks up small cracker, pats picture in book, plays ball, babbles in response to voice.

13-15 Months:

Turns thick pages of book a few at time, holds spoon and brings to mouth, imitates putting object inside something, walks, crawls, maneuvers around and onto furniture, learning true words, (“mama”, “bye”, “dada”, “no”).

16-18 Months:

Walks comfortably carrying objects, starts to run, points to request, has 10 word vocabulary, turns door knob, kicks a ball with poor balance, uses spoon well, drinks from cup, pulls off socks and shoes, helps with undressing.

19-22 Months:

Speaks in two word sentences, feeds self well, chews all food, helps with dressing, takes off coat, pushes self on scooter, jumps with feet unequal, scribbles holding pencil well, copies lines and circles, names objects in books, follows verbal direction well, identifies 3 body parts and clothing items.

23-27 Months:

Kicks ball with good balance, puts on simple pieces of clothing, hops on one foot, sucks from straw, indicates when needing toilet, turns pages of book one at a time, can dry own hands, jumps with feet together, helps clean up, eats with a fork.

28-32 Months:

Speaks clearly with three to four word sentences, plays interactively with other children, recognizes self in pictures, can name and point to most body parts, matches familiar objects, expresses emotion dramatically: clapping, dancing, tends not to share, imitates domestic chores (cleaning, cookies), listens to a story.

33-36 Months

Walks in a straight line, runs well, jumps with both feet, tramadol 50 mg with pencil, builds tower of nine or more blocks, manipulates small objects with ease, feeds self without help, pours well, can unlace and take off shoes, cleans up spilled liquids, speaks well with adults, can reason out answers to simple questions, can wait his/her turn, learns to share, can follow three-step directions, can count to ten, understand big/little, fast/slow, up/down.

What you can do

Talk to your pediatrician or give us a call at 718 836-2127. Our staff will tell you everything you need to know, and if necessary, we can start the process and have your child evaluated by one of our experienced diagnostic specialists.

The Staff

Founder / Director

Elise Vetere, PhD, ABSNP

Elise Vetere, PhD, ABSNP is the founder and Executive Director of Early Start, Inc. She received a PhD from Fordham University in School Psychology. She completed a post graduate degree in Clinical Neuropsychology from Fielding Institute in cooperation with New York University. She is a New York State Licensed Psychologist and holds a Diplomate in School Neuropsychology. She presented at several conferences including the “World Conference on Pediatric Neuropsychology”. She has assessed and provided therapy for children birth to five years old for more than 20 years. In addition, she started her career as a Training Fellow at the Center for Infant and Parents at Teachers College, Columbia University, where she also received her Master’s Degree in Psychology.

Supervisor of Applied Behavioral Analysis

Christine Pedi, MS Ed,BCBA

Christine Pedi, MS Ed,BCBA is the supervisor of Applied Behavior Analysis services for Early Start. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Education, both from Wagner College. Christine earned a certificate in Behavioral Intervention in Autism from the University of Massachusetts and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She holds a permanent certificate as a Special Education teacher. Christine has 15 years experience working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down syndrome, and other developmental disabilities. She has been a therapist at Early Start since 1999 and an ABA team coordinator since 2005.

Supervisor of Speech Therapy

Jean Santaniello, M.A., C.C.C.

Jean Santaniello, M.A., C.C.C. is the senior supervisor of Speech Pathology services for Early Start. She holds a Master’s Degree in Speech Pathology from CUNY Hunter College, School of Health Sciences. She also holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech and Hearing Association and a permanent Certificate as a Teacher of the Speech and Hearing Handicapped. Jean has 23 years of clinical experience working with infants, children and adults with speech, language, oral motor and feeding disorders. She possesses extensive experience in diagnostic and treatment of oral motor/feeding disorders.