What is early intervention?
Early intervention is a system of services that identifies children with developmental delays or disabilities. Early intervention focuses on helping eligible children learn and practice skills that typically develop during the first 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)
- Self-help (eating, dressing).
Examples of early intervention services
If a child 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
- Medical services
- Nursing services
- Nutrition services
- Occupational therapy
- Physical therapy
- Psychological services
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.
Who’s eligible for early intervention?
Early intervention is intended for children who have a developmental delay or disability. Eligibility is determined by evaluating the child (with parents’ consent) to see if the child does, in fact, have a delay in development or a disability. Eligible children can receive early intervention services while they attend The Learning Pavilion.
Screening and/or evaluation
One of the first things that will happen is that your child will be evaluated to see if, indeed, he or she has a developmental delay or disability. The Learning Pavilion Therapy Staff will explain what’s involved in the screening and/or evaluation and ask for your permission to proceed. You must provide your written consent before screening and/or evaluation may take place.
The therapy team will be made up of qualified people who have different areas of training and experience. Together, they know about children’s speech and language skills, physical abilities, hearing and vision, and other important areas of development. They know how to work with children, even infants, to discover if a child has a problem or is developing within normal ranges. Group members may evaluate your child together or individually. As part of the evaluation, the team will observe your child, ask your child to do things, talk to you and your child, and use other methods to gather information. These procedures will help the team find out how your child functions in the five areas of development.
The results of the evaluation will be used to determine your child’s eligibility for early intervention services. You and a team of professionals will meet and review all of the data, results, and reports. The people on the team will talk with you about whether your child meets the criteria under IDEA and state policy for having a developmental delay, a diagnosed physical or mental condition, or being at risk for having a substantial delay. If so, your child is generally found to be eligible for services.