Project Run (Reach Us Now)
Director: Andy Vice
Project RUN provides early intervention services to infants and children from birth to age three who are experiencing developmental delays (such as difficulty in achieving childhood milestones such as rolling over, crawling, walking, talking, self-feeding, dressing, etc.), who have diagnoses known to be associated with developmental delay (such as Down Syndrome, autism, etc), or who have special needs (such as prematurity or medical complications) that may delay their development. Early intervention promotes development through family support and individualized therapeutic activities.
Project RUN was created with funding from the U.S. Department of Education in 1977, and has continued since 1979 with annual funding from the Mississippi Department of Mental Health. Services available from Project RUN include comprehensive evaluations, special instruction, and speech therapy. Project RUN staff may also provide audiological and nutritional consults, and a therapeutic horseback riding program is offered in the spring and fall. Evaluations and therapy services are play-based, and typically offered in natural environments such as the child's home or daycare. Services are confidential and provided at no charge to families.
In Mississippi, several agencies work together to provide early intervention services. The Department of Health is the lead agency for Mississippi's early intervention services through their First Steps Program. First Steps service coordinators, located in county health departments, coordinate early intervention services (including the services provided by Project RUN) and link families with service providers (such as Project RUN). As children approach their third birthdays, other collaborating agencies include the Department of Education and HeadStart programs that assist with transition to preschool programs.