Early Intervention Overview
While all children grow and develop in unique ways, some children experience delays in their development. Children in Pennsylvania with developmental delays and disabilities benefit from a state-supported collaboration among parents, service practitioners and others who work with young children needing special services. The Pennsylvania Early Intervention program provides support and services to families with children, from birth to age five, with developmental delays and disabilities. Early Intervention builds upon the natural learning opportunities that occur within the daily routines of a child and their family.
- Supports services and resources for children that enhance daily opportunities for learning provided in settings where a child would be if he/she did not have a developmental delay and disability.
- Provides families' independence and competencies.
- Respects families' strengths, values, and diversity.
Early Intervention supports and services are designed to meet the developmental needs of children with a disability as well as the needs of the family related to enhancing the child's development in one or more of the following areas:
- Physical development, including vision and hearing
- Cognitive development
- Communication development
- Social or emotional development
- Adaptive development
How do I receive information about Early Intervention Services or make a referral to Early Intervention?
Parents who have questions about their child's development may contact the CONNECT Helpline at 1-800-692-7288.
The CONNECT Helpline assists families in locating resources and providing information regarding child development for children ages birth to age 5.
In addition, CONNECT can assist parents by making a direct link to their county Early Intervention program or local preschool Early Intervention program.
What Are Children Eligible?
Children from birth to age 5 who have special needs due to developmental delays and disabilities are eligible to receive Early Intervention (EI) services.
What Services are Provided to Meet the Developmental Needs of a Child?
The services provided to children and their families differ based upon the individual needs and strengths of each child and the child's family.
Services such as:
- parent education,
- support services,
- developmental therapies and
- other family-centered services that assist in child development and may be included in a family's Early Intervention program.
Early Intervention promotes collaboration among parents, service providers and other important people in the child's life to enhance the child's development and support the needs of the family.
Where do Children and Their Families Receive Services?
Services may be provided :
- in the child's home,
- child care center,
- nursery school,
- Head Start program,
- early childhood
- special education classroom
- or other settings familiar to the family.
Early Intervention provides supports and services in a variety of settings. Early Intervention supports and services are embedded in typical routines and activities, within the family, community and/or early care and education settings. This approach provides frequent, meaningful practice and skill building opportunities.
What is the Cost for Services?
Early Intervention services are provided at no cost to families.
Pennsylvania Department of Education
Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning