What is Early Intervention?
In Pennsylvania, Early Intervention is a FREE service for children between the ages of 0-3. This is meant to support early childhood development. Parents/caregivers can request an evaluation if they have concerns about their child’s development, or if a daycare teacher or doctor has mentioned concerns. To request an evaluation, parents/caregivers can contact the department of Early Intervention in their county. A doctor’s referral/prescription is not necessary.
Who can receive Early Intervention?
After receiving an initial evaluation, if your child is noted to have a delay of 25% or more than other children his/her age, they will qualify to receive one or more of the following services:
- Physical Therapy
- Occupational Therapy
- Speech therapy
- Special Instruction
What is the parent/caregiver’s role in Early Intervention?
Early Intervention services are meant to provide parents/caregivers with training and coaching to support their child’s development. Parents/caregivers will be asked to set goals for the child so that the focus of services can address what is most important to the family. During Early Intervention sessions, parents/caregivers can ask questions about development and learn ways to help their child’s development during daily activities. It is most important to find a quiet place with limited interruptions during Early Intervention sessions. This may mean keeping pets in another room and muting cellphones.
Where does Early Intervention take place?
Early Intervention services are provided in the child’s natural environment. This may be at home, at daycare or in the community at a park, library or grocery store.
How is Early Intervention different than Outpatient Therapy?
Early Intervention services are provided in the child’s natural environment, while outpatient therapy services take place at a clinic. Early Intervention is a FREE service funded through the state, while outpatient therapy is billed through medical insurance. Early Intervention services are provided in the child’s home until the age of 3, while outpatient therapy can continue throughout a child’s lifespan.