If you’re concerned about the development of an infant or toddler, or you suspect that a little one has a disability, this page will summarize one terrific source of help—the early intervention system in your state. Early intervention services can help infants and toddlers with disabilities or delays to learn many key skills and catch up in their development.
What is early intervention?
Early intervention is a system of services that helps babies and toddlers with developmental delays or disabilities. Early intervention focuses on helping eligible babies and toddlers learn the basic and brand-new skills that typically develop during the first three years of life, such as:
physical (reaching, rolling, crawling, and walking);
cognitive (thinking, learning, solving problems);
communication (talking, listening, understanding);
social/emotional (playing, feeling secure and happy); and
self-help (eating, dressing).
Examples of early intervention services | If an infant or toddler has a disability or a developmental delay in one or more of these developmental areas, that child will likely be eligible for early intervention services. Those services will be tailored to meet the child’s individual needs and may include:
Assistive technology (devices a child might need)
Audiology or hearing services
Speech and language services
Counseling and training for a family
Services may also be provided to address the needs and priorities of the child’s family. Family-directed services are meant to help family members understand the special needs of their child and how to enhance his or her development.
Authorized by law | Early intervention is available in every state and territory of the United States. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires it–Part C of IDEA, to be precise. That’s why you’ll sometimes hear early intervention referred to as Part C.
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