Early Intervention (EI) is a support system that provides children from ages birth to 3 years old with services such as therapists to help evaluate and assess the child’s needs. These service providers assist in identifying and treating children with developmental delays.
How do you know if your child is eligible for EI?
If you have concerns with your child, you should first speak to your pediatrician. If you are worried your child may have physical or cognitive delays, your child’s pediatrician will refer you to an approved EI agency. During your intake, the agency will ask what your concerns are. This will give them a better understanding of which therapists should be sent to you for an initial evaluation. When the therapist comes to the house, they conduct age-appropriate standardized tests, a parent interview, and use clinical observation to assess your child. If your child’s evaluation shows that they qualify for services, your service coordinator with plan individualized for your child. This plan is called an IFSP (Individualized Family Service Plan). The IFSP includes pertinent information such as,
Your child’s current levels of development
Goals set by the evaluators for your child
Services that will be provided (where and how often they will receive these services)
The State has 45 days to complete the evaluation and IFSP process. This allows your child to get services as soon as possible if they are warranted. Every 6 months, your child will be reassessed, and goals will be updated if they require change.
What are some services offered?
Many services are offered through EI, such as Physical Therapy, Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, ABA, Psychological Specialists, and Educational Specialists. These professionals have specialized in these age ranges and are aware of what their developmental milestones should be.
Who pays for Early Intervention?
Each state chooses how is eligible for EI services. States such as New York and California have a state fund for EI. However, if your child does not qualify for EI, there are agencies that take health care. Children are not allowed to be denied if their families are unable to pay.
What do experts want parents to know about EI?
EI is a wonderful program that has been shown to improve skills in many areas, including educational, behavioral, physical, and emotional. Addressing the needs of a child as early as possible is crucial. Children fall quickly behind, affecting long-term progress and skill development. If not handled early, children can develop low self-esteem, poor social skills, and anxiety.