Early Intervention

What is Early Intervention?

Early Intervention is a process through which families, local early intervention systems, and local school systems collaborate to ensure that all children and youth with disabilities have access to appropriate services and educational opportunities to which they are entitled under federal and state laws.

Early intervention applies to children of school age or younger who are discovered to have or be at risk for developing a handicap, health condition, learning difference, or other special need that may impact their development. The purpose of early intervention is to lessen the effects of the condition. Early intervention can be preventive or remedial in nature.

Early intervention programs may take place in a variety of settings: home, center, or school-based. Services range from identification (screening and referral) services to diagnostic and direct intervention programs. Early intervention may begin at any time between birth and school age; however, for the best outcomes, early intervention should begin as early as possible.

There are three primary reasons for intervening early with an exceptional child: to enhance the child's development, to provide support and assistance to the family, and to maximize the child's and family's benefit to society (Kidsource, 2007).



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