Early Intervention is Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). As such it is a federally run program. Even though it is federally run, each state is able to run their programs differently and as such you should contact your child and family connections office (CFC) office to get started finding out if your child will qualify for Early Intervention (EI) in your state. http://ectacenter.org/contact/ptccoord.asp
In some states, children are referred to the EI program by their pediatrician when the pediatrician notices that the child is not developing on the same track as same age peers. In other instances, they child may be referred while still in the hospital at birth, in the case of a qualifying medical diagnosis like Down Syndrome, for instance. http://eiclearinghouse.org/resources/getting-started/eligibility/
As was discussed in the previous articles, once you have been assessed and it has been determined you qualify, services will begin as long as it is before your child is 35 months old. There are a variety of services that EI covers for children under 36 months old. EI can help children with Speech and language difficulties, feeding difficulties, cognitive delays, adaptive delays, gross and fine motor delays, social-emotional difficulties, and sensory integration disorders. If your child has any delays in any of these areas, it is better to get help earlier and it never hurts to make the call and see if they qualify. The therapists will come to your house, if your child qualifies for therapy, and teach you how to use your family routines to naturally implement therapy into parts of your day to help maximize your child’s learning.
-Written by Stacy Hillenburg (parent of transplant recipient and Early Intervention Specialist)