What exactly is Early Intervention?
Answer: only the best setting ever, of course! at least to us
Before we start our chat – remember that Early Intervention (EI) programs may differ depending on what state you live in, what region you work in, and even what agency/company you’re an employee of.
EI is a program that provides support and services to children from birth to three years old who have been identified as being at risk for a developmental delay – in one or more areas of child development including: cognition, communication (receptive/expressive language), physical development (gross/fine motor), social-emotional, and adaptive/self-help.
This risk for developmental delay may be due to being born with a particular diagnosis or condition. However, not all kiddo’s in EI have a formal diagnosis.
Referrals can be made by anyone that has a concern about a child’s development, including a pediatrician, parent, or daycare teacher. A parent does not need a referral from the pediatrician to receive early intervention services – they simply have to contact their state’s EI program and request an evaluation.
Each state has their own eligibility criteria. Some kiddo’s automatically qualify if they have an established condition clearly outlined by that state’s EI program, and some qualify based on their scores on the standardized assessment.
EI is one setting you can work in as a pediatric therapist (OT/PT/SLP). You’ll also find developmental specialists, hearing and vision specialists, child psychologists, social workers…and many more! Services are provided in the natural environment of the child (home, daycare, neighborhood park, etc.) and center around helping the kiddo functionally participate in their everyday routines and activities.