Early Intervention Services

Assisting Families and Children

Wesley and Landon are off to preschool!

What are Early Intervention Services?

Early intervention services are designed to enhance a child’s development during the first few years of life.  It is also intended to support families and caregivers in developing competence and confidence to help their child learn and grow. Early Intervention is not a cure for disabilities or risk conditions. Rather, it is a system of coordinated services that promotes the child’s growth and development and supports families during the critical early years. 

Parents often have questions about their child’s development:

  • Is it normal that my baby isn’t turning over yet?
  • Why doesn’t my daughter make eye contact with me?
  • Why can’t anyone understand what my son is saying?
  • Why can’t my child do the same things that other children his age do?

Every child is different. They all grow and change at different rates. But some children may experience developmental delays. Research shows that the earlier a child receives intervention, the more successful the outcome will be. Early Start aims to provide services and support to children with developmental delays as soon as possible so that these children can reach their full potential.

Early Intervention Services are:

  • Are designed to meet the developmental needs of each eligible child and the needs of the family related to enhancing the child’s development.
  • Are selected in collaboration with the parents.

Service are provided by qualified personnel which could include:

  • Audiologist
  • Family therapists
  • Nurses
  • Nutritionists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Orientation and mobility specialists
  • Pediatricians and other physicians
  • Physical therapists
  • Psychologists
  • Social workers
  • Special educators
  • Speech and language pathologists

Types of services could include:

  • Assistive technology devices and services
  • Audiology
  • Family training, counseling and home visits
  • Health services
  • Medical services (only for diagnostic or evaluation purposes)
  • Nursing services
  • Nutrition services
  • Occupational therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Psychological services
  • Service coordination
  • Social work services
  • Special instruction (eg. infant development program)
  • Speech & language services
  • Transportation services
  • Vision services

Early Intervention: Rights and Protections

For Families with Children under 36 months

Early intervention services, provided through the California Early Start Program, to eligible children and families are federally mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and in California by S.B. 1085, the California Early Intervention Services Act.

In Early Start, parents have rights and protections to resolve disagreements related to Early Start services or allegations that a federal or state statute or regulation has been violated. The following procedures are only for children under the age of three years.


The Early Start Intake Process

What happens after you are referred?

If you suspect that an infant or toddler has a developmental delay or atypical development then it is important to make a screen and make a referral (evalúe y refiera).

The first step in determining eligibility for the Early Start program is to call the Early Intervention Intake line at (916) 978-6249 to speak to one of the coordinators. Referrals can be made by a parent, health or education provider, childcare or social service provider or a staff person from the NICU or hospital just to name a few.


The Individualized Family Service Plan

Planning for your Family's Success

The Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) is the foundation of services that are family-centered. It is based on the child’s strengths and family concerns and priorities for the child. Parents are to actively participate in the process of assessment and planning by gathering information about medical and developmental history and by sharing observations about the child’s strengths, talents, preferences and difficulties.


Early Intervention Mandated Services

Early intervention services are described in federal regulations for Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), (Section 303.13 and 303.13) which follow.