Early intervention can improve your child's quality of life

When services are provided early for children with developmental delays, these services can significantly increase their ability to succeed and develop:
  • skills necessary for school and life
  • increase the chances of social inclusion
  • overcome challenges that could hinder them reaching their fullest potential and quality of life

What Are Early Intervention Services?

A range of services and supports that are available to infants and young children with developmental delays or disabilities, up to the age of 3.

These services are provided under the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act).

What Is Developmental Delay

As a child grows and develops, they learn different skills like walking, talking, waving and much more. These skills are called developmental milestones. Developmental delays are when a child is not reaching those milestones within that age range.

There are five main groups of skills that make up the developmental milestones:

  • Cognitive or thinking skills
  • Gross and fine motor skills
  • Speech and language skills
  • Activities of daily living
  • Social or emotional development

If you have a concern that your child is not reaching these milestones, you should contact your child’s pediatrician.

Who Pays for Services?

Remember Early Intervention is for babies and toddlers (up to age 3) who have a developmental delay or disability. You have to provide written consent for your child to be evaluated to determine if they are eligible to receive these services. It’s also important to understand how your state defines “developmental delay”. Find out more here, by visiting the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA Center).

Who Is Eligible for Early Intervention?

You should always check with your Service Coordinator, to see what services are NOT FREE in your state. So depending on your state you may be asked to pay for certain specialized services such as:

  • Family training and support, counseling and home visits
  • Nursing
  • Nutrition
  • Special instruction
  • Speech or hearing services
  • Occupational or physical therapy
  • Medical services for diagnostic or evaluation purposes only
  • Health services to enable your child to benefit from other early intervention services
  • Vision services, including orientation and mobility training
  • Assistive technology devices and services
  • Transportation, respite care (short-term child care that gives a parent a break from the caregiver role) or environmental adaptations (such as the use of a quiet room)

Some of these services may be:

  • charged on a“sliding-scale feemeaning the fees are based on what you earn.
  • Or covered by your private health insurance company, Medicaid or Indian Health Services

Who Is Eligible for Early Intervention?

This is where we want to help, because stopping those vital services and resources, ultimately is not in the best interest of your child. We learned from our own experience, that these services can be extremely expensive but necessary for your child’s learning and growth. We want to be able to take some of that burden off of your family.

Programs for Families & Caregivers

There are programs offered by your local and state governments which may be able to help. Click on any of the states below to learn more. As you’ve probably already discovered, you learn to rely on the help of family, friends and the community. The good news is that there are programs offered by your local and state governments which may be able to help.

Program List

DISCLAIMER: Special and Determined is not affiliated with any of the state-run or third-party programs listed above.

Other National Down Syndrome Foundation Resources

Find out if your family is eligible for a Special & Determined Grant.

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