Early intervention (EI) represents the earliest stage of the special education process. EI refers to publicly funded supportive services given to eligible children younger than three. These services are designed to help children by addressing developmental issues to give them better outcomes overall. To qualify children must have, or be at risk for, developmental delays.
"This early support is so essential and can change a child's trajectory and improve outcomes, says Marion M. Walsh, Partner at Littman Krooks LLP. These early services to focus on social-emotional and physical development provide the foundation upon which cognitive, language and adaptive living skills develop for children."
What Services Does Early Intervention Cover?
Early intervention services focus on five areas of development, and are listed with the most common services recommended to address each area:
- Physical-walking, crawling, grasping, drawing (physical therapy, occupational therapy)
- Cognitive-thinking, reasoning, problem-solving (special education)
- Social-interacting with others, playing, acting appropriately (special education, speech therapy, behavior services)
- Communication-talking, listening, understanding communicating (speech therapy)
- Adaptive-feeding, dressing, ability to help self