Current as of July 2021
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Early intervention services are specially designed to address the educational and developmental needs of very young children with disabilities and those who are experiencing developmental delays.
Early intervention provides free developmental evaluations of children younger than 3 (that is to say, before their third birthday) and helps families find services for their little one. These services are available through the same law that makes special education services available—the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
Finding Early Intervention in Your Area
If you’re concerned about possible delays in your baby’s development or think your baby or toddler needs special help, you should get in touch with the early intervention system in your area. Here are two suggestions for how to do that.
Get in touch with the Parent Center in your state.
Every state has at least one Parent Center funded to provide information and guidance to parents of children with developmental delays or disabilities. Call your Parent Center and ask to be put in touch with an early intervention program near you. Find your Parent Center here at the Hub:
Keep track of info.
Write down the names, phone numbers, and emails you’re given (and, as you continue, everyone you talk to). You can use the Parent’s Record-Keeping Worksheet. Having this information available will be helpful to you later on.
Other Ways of Finding Early Intervention in Your Area
Here are a few alternative ways in which you can identify the early intervention program in your community.
- Ask your child’s pediatrician to put you in touch with the early intervention system in your community or region;
- Contact the Pediatrics branch in a local hospital and ask where you should call to find out about early intervention services in your area.
Also, you should know the following, which can also help you find the early intervention program you’re looking for.
Get in touch with the State system.
The State is responsible for providing early intervention programs for infants and toddlers. The agency in charge is called the lead agency. Services for children are provided at the local level, under State supervision. Find out the lead agency for your State at the ECTA Center:
Ask to be referred to your local area.
Call the State agency you identified above. Explain that you want to find out about early intervention services for your child. Ask for the name of the office, a contact person, and the phone number in your area where you can find out more about the program and have your child screened for a disability or delay.
Visit the State’s and/or local agency’s website.
Most States make websites available where you can find guidance for parents new to the early intervention system, as well as descriptions of policies. You can identify the website address at the ECTA Center, when you are finding out who the lead agency in your State is. The same types of information may also be available on the website of the local-level program, so be sure to ask at the local level if they have a website you can visit.
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**Highly Rated Resource! This resource was reviewed by 3-member panels of Parent Center staff working independently from one another to rate the quality, relevance, and usefulness of CPIR resources. This resource was found to be of “High Quality, High Relevance, High Usefulness” to Parent Centers.
Would you like to visit another page in the Early Intervention Suite of pages?
- Overview of Early Intervention
- Services in Your State for Infants and Toddlers (you’re already here)
- Parent Participation
- Parent Notification and Consent
- Writing the IFSP for Your Child
- Providing Services in Natural Environments
- Transition to Preschool
- Public Awareness & the Referral System
- Early Intervention, Then and Now
- Who’s Who in Early Intervention
- Effective Practices in Early Intervention
- Key Terms to Know in Early Intervention