In some cases, a child’s developmental problems may be evident from birth. In other instances, it may take several months to realize that developmental milestones are not being met. Early intervention is the term used to describe services that reach a child early in his or her development, usually from birth through age three. Intervention is vital during this very early time because there a child learns and develops at the fastest rate during the first few years. It’s important not to miss out on this crucial part of your child’s development, as it may be more difficult to teach skills to your child as he or she gets older. At three, children generally become eligible for other educational services.
Examples of early intervention services include health, educational and therapeutic services. A service can be as simple as prescribing glasses for a two-year-old or as complex as developing a complete physical therapy program for an infant with cerebral palsy. The goal is always to help the child achieve the highest possible functioning and interaction at home and in the community. An early intervention program can also provide support and guidance to your family.
Individualized Family Service Plans
How do you find out what kind of early intervention services your child needs? Find out how an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) can identify the right mix of therapies and treatments for your child.
Early Intervention Parental Rights
What options are available if you don’t agree with a course of treatment recommended for your child? Find out what kinds of rights parents have in shaping their child’s care.
Early intervention Services
Early intervention services vary by area, but they often include occupational therapy, social work services, respite care, speech therapy and audiology, psychological services, nursing services, assistive technology, nutritional planning, vision services, family training and in home counseling, and family support services.
Click here to find early intervention services in your area.
Connect with other parents about Early Intervention
Visit the My Child Without Limits support community and talk to parents, caregivers, and professionals about their experiences with early intervention.
Are you trying to find an early intervention program for your child?
My Child Without Limits Resource Locator
National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center
National Child Care Information and Technical Assistance Center
Office of Head Start