Early intervention consists of various supports and services.
And keep in mind that every state and location operates a little differently in what services they have to offer.
Some might have all, while others might only have a few.
But based on our wide experiences working in the field of early intervention, we compiled a list of common services that a child and family might receive as part of the early intervention process.
Common Supports and Services in Early Intervention
- Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Speech and Language Pathology
- Developmental Specialists/ Infant Stimulation
- Vision and Hearing Specialists
- Center-Based Program
- Monthly monitoring/ At-Risk Program
- Child Psychology
- Social Work
- Family Education Classes
- Service Coordination
Occupational therapy services are provided by certified OT practitioners and address areas including: cognition, motor (gross and fine), adaptive-behavior skills, social emotional, sensory processing and sensory modulation, feeding, transitioning skills, and other areas that impact a child’s everyday occupations.
Physical therapy services are provided by certified PT practitioners and address areas including: gross motor skills, walking and gait, strength, balance and coordination, range of motion, seating and mobility, and orthotic or specialty equipment needs
Speech and Language Pathology
Speech and Language Pathology services are provided by certified SLP practitioners and address areas including: cognition, receptive and expressive language, early sound development, hearing, assistive communication technology, sign language, social-emotional skills, and oral motor skills.
Developmental specialists/ Infant Stimulation
Developmental and infant stimulation specialists are professionals that have training in early childhood development and education who address areas including: cognition, learning, relationship building, beginning communication skills, curiosity and attention.
Vision and hearing specialists
Vision and hearing specialists work directly with children who have limitations in their vision and hearing. They address areas in vision and hearing by providing strategies to improve or maintain current levels of functioning.
Center- Based Program
A center-based program is a specific program offered to children who are 18 months or older who demonstrate areas of need in multiple areas of development. The program consists of classroom environment led by a teacher or developmental specialist that embeds occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech language pathology. Children typically attend for a few hours, 2-3 times a week. There are typically a handful of other kids in the classroom some within the early intervention program and some that are there for peer modeling.
Monthly Monitoring/ At Risk Program
Some children do not qualify for specific therapeutic early intervention services, but still require a specialist to follow them to monitor their development as they grow. These children typically score within normal limits on their developmental assessments, but are at risk of developing a delay, i.e. due to prematurity, exposure to drugs or alcohol in utero, trauma or having a parent or a sibling with a disability.
Some early intervention programs have psychologists and psychiatrists on staff to review medical reports and ensure that the child is getting their psychological needs met.
Some early intervention programs have nurses on staff to review medical reports and ensure that the child is getting their medical needs met.
Social workers collaborate with the early intervention team specifically for kiddos within the foster care system.
Family Education Classes
Some early intervention programs offer classes for the parents and families, as well as for the children. They address topics including behavior management, potty training, early speech development, infant massage, etc.
And last but not least, service coordinators are specialists who manage all of the services and care that each child receives while in an early intervention program. They are the point of contact for the families and ensure that their needs are being met. They also are responsible for the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP).
This is not an exhaustive list as each early intervention program has their own supports and services. To see what your local EI program has to offer, check out your local EI program’s website.
What supports and services do you have in your area? Any we missed? What supports and services do you wish you had?