Early Childhood Intervention
If you’re concerned about the development of an infant or toddler, or you suspect that a little one has a disability, this page will summarize one terrific source of help—the early intervention system in your state. Early intervention services can help infants and toddlers with disabilities or delays to learn many key skills and catch up in their development. There’s a lot to know about early intervention. We present the “basics” here to get you started.
If you’re looking for practical information, summaries, or how-to’s about evaluation, eligibility, or IFSPs, visit our Babies and Toddlers pages, where you’ll find what you’re looking for in abundance. The page you’re on right now gives you the exact words of Subpart D of the Part C regulations, without explanation or commentary.
After your young child’s evaluation is complete and he or she is found eligible for early intervention services, you, as parents, and a team will meet to develop a written plan for providing early intervention services to your child and, as necessary, to your family. This plan is called the Individualized Family Service Plan, or IFSP.
So–what’s considered a “natural environment”? What isn’t? This webpage focuses upon answering these questions and on connecting you with resources of additional information and best practice.
- IDEA’s definition of “natural environment”
- Who decides where?
- Based on what?
- What must be included in the IFSP?
- Two points from the Department of Education
- Resources of more information
Early intervention is full of terms that people constantly use in writing and in conversation, and it’s important to know what those terms mean. We are pleased to provide this handy reference to early intervention terminology, and hopes it helps our readers quickly connect with the meaning of pivotal words and phrases in the field.
Early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities (birth-3) have been a part of IDEA since 1986. This section of the law is commonly known as Part C of IDEA.
- Regulations for Part C
- What’s changed? | OSEP’s non-regulatory summary
- Model IFSP form
- Training module 1 | The Basics of Early Intervention
- How to find early intervention services in your community
An interactive four-part training kit intended for families with children receiving early intervention/early childhood special education that is available in English and Spanish.
Recent data indicate that expulsions and suspensions happen regularly in preschool settings. This is problematic, given that research indicates that these practices can influence a number of adverse outcomes across development, health, and education. Stark racial and gender disparities also exist in these practices, with young boys of color being suspended and expelled at much higher rates than other children in early learning programs.
Supporting Parent Engagement in Linguistically Diverse Families to Promote Young Children’s Learning: Implications for Early Care and Education Policy
There is wide agreement that early care and education programs should support parent engagement linked to early learning for all families, including families from diverse language and cultural backgrounds. This brief highlights research that can inform policies to expand the capacity of early care and education programs to promote parent engagement in linguistically diverse families with young children. Policy initiatives that could strengthen the capacity of early care and education programs to support parent engagement in these families include:
- establishing program requirements and quality standards that specifically address the needs and interests of families whose home language is not English;
- providing educational opportunities to individuals who can increase the linguistic diversity and cultural competency of the early care and education workforce;
- providing resources to support programs’ use of parent engagement practices and activities that are most promising for linguistically diverse families; and
- using data to understand the participation of linguistically diverse families in parent engagement activities and inform efforts to strengthen programs’ capacity to engage diverse families. (Author abstract)
The Final Rule for the New Head Start Program Performance Standards was published in the Federal Register on September 6, 2016. Effective starting November 2016, the updates reflect best practices and the latest research on early childhood development and brain science. This is the first comprehensive revision of the Standards since they were originally published in 1975.
Kids grow fast, don’t they? And early intervention is designed for children from birth up to age three. At that point, services under EI end. If the child will need continued support once he or she moves on to preschool, it’s very important to plan ahead so that the transition is smooth. The resources below will help you do just that.
This Research to Practice report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:
- summarizes the research on development during the first 3 years of life,
- highlights areas that are foundational for school readiness and later school success, and
- discusses how providers can support the development of school readiness in infants and toddlers.
Supporting the School Readiness and Success of Young African American Boys Project: Reflections on a Culturally Responsive Strength-Based Approach
The goal of the Supporting the School Readiness and Success of Young African American Boys Project (2013-2015), was to help Head Start and other early education programs promote culturally responsive, strength-based learning environments for young African American boys. In the course of the project, materials were developed, professional development was conducted, and a new resource, Supporting the School Readiness and Success of Young African American Boys Project: Reflections on a Culturally Responsive Strength-Based Approach, evolved. This resource is meant to help a variety of different audiences, including program managers, classroom teachers, home visitor, family advocate, and parents, reflect and think about how to best support young African American boys in early learning settings.
Federal Policy Statement on Including Children with Disabilities in High-Quality Early Childhood Programs
The U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services issued a joint policy statement urging early learning programs to include children with disabilities. The guidance sets a vision for action that recommends states, districts, schools, and public and private early childhood programs prioritize and implement policies that support inclusion, improve their infrastructure, and offer professional development to strengthen and increase the number of inclusive high-quality early childhood programs nationwide. The Departments crafted the guidance with the input of early learning professionals, families, and early learning stakeholders.
This guide provides a discussion of research, policy, and practice regarding the role of parental involvement in children’s early education and schooling. In addition to overviews of several promising initiatives from across the country, this report from the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) outlines:
- key findings and summaries of research regarding the impact of parental behavior on a child’s learning and achievement, evaluation of interventions, and factors affecting parental involvement;
- models designed for culturally diverse, low-income families; and
- opportunities for states to advance parent engagement polices and practices.