What is the Early Intervention Program?
In 1986, the U.S. Congress passed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which included the Early Intervention Program. The Early Intervention Program is for children from birth to age 3. Evaluations are conducted, and to be eligible for services a child must be found to have a disability or developmental delay in one or more of these areas: physical, cognitive, communication, social-emotional, and/or adaptive. Although programs vary from State to State, the general mission of the Early Intervention Program it to identify infants and toddlers with compromised development and provide appropriate intervention to improve the functioning of the child and family. Parents are provided with support in their quest to enhance their child’s development, and services are provided in natural environments where children are most familiar and comfortable. This description is necessarily general because, although the Early Intervention Program was created at the Federal level, it is implemented by States and local municipalities throughout the United States. Therefore, specifics about each State’s Early Intervention Program are beyond the scope of this book. If you have concerns about your child’s development, you should speak to your pediatrician or contact your local Early Intervention Program.