Birth - 2 Early Intervention
What is Early Intervention?
Early Intervention (EI) is a program that provides services for infants and toddlers (children under the age of three) who have or are at risk for a developmental delay. Families may be referred to EI by a healthcare or childcare provider, but parents can also make a referral themselves.
Why is EI important?
A child’s brain develops rapidly in the first three years of life. The earlier a child with a delay is referred to EI, the better their chances are to grow up healthy and reach their full potential. It’s never too early for Early Intervention.
Who is eligible for EI services?
When a child is referred to EI, an early childhood special education (ECSE) teacher will complete a screening or evaluation in order to identify areas of concern and determine eligibility for ECSE/EI services. Other service providers, such as an occupational therapist, speech therapist, or physical therapist, may be involved in this process depending on the specific needs of the child. Children who are showing signs of developmental delays or have a diagnosis that may result in delay may be eligible for services.
How do I know if a child needs to be referred to EI?
No two children develop, grow, and learn in the exact same way or at the same pace. However, children do develop in certain predictable ways. There are some developmental milestones that all children should reach at different age levels. Please visit this page to view the developmental milestones for your child’s age: https://helpmegrowmn.org/HMG/DevelopMilestone/index.html
If a child has a diagnosis that has a high probability of resulting in a developmental delay or if they are not meeting milestones in any area, including gross or fine motor, adaptive (self-help), cognitive (thinking, playing, and learning), language/communication, or social-emotional/behavioral development, they should be referred to EI.
How do I make a referral?
The easiest way to make a referral is online through Help Me Grow at www.helpmegrowmn.org! After making a Help Me Grow referral, the information will be sent to the school district the child lives in. After the district receives the referral, they will reach out to the child’s family to discuss the next steps.
How does EI work with families?
If a child is eligible for ECSE/EI services, an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) will be developed using input from the child’s family and EI providers. This plan outlines the goals for the child and the services that are necessary to help the child and family reach those goals. Services typically take place in a child’s home but may take place at their childcare or another place where the child and their family spend most of their time.
Is there a cost for EI services?
There is no cost to families for a screening or evaluation. If a child is found to be eligible for services, they will be provided through the school district at no cost to the family.
What happens when the child turns three? What if my child is already three?
If a child has been receiving EI services, an evaluation will be completed prior to their third birthday in order to determine their eligibility for services after their third birthday. Services after the age of three are provided in the preschool setting.
If your child is already three or older, please visit this Children 3-5 page to learn more about the options available for preschool-aged children.
Early intervention services are designed to give your child the best start in life. By being proactive and seeking help early, you can help your child to reach their full potential and thrive. If you have any questions, you may contact Kelsie Hasser at 763-389-6189 or place a referral online at www.helpmegrowmn.org.