Why Intervene Early?
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.
The Early Intervention Program for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities of the IDEA (Part C) is designed to assist any child under the age of three years in the United States or its territories who has a disability or significant delays in development. Under this program, such children are entitled to receive early intervention services. In eight states, the program also includes children who are at-risk for delays in development.
Federal law is fairly specific about parents’ rights, the types of services to be provided, the types of person who are qualified to deliver services, how services are to be provided, and how they are to be coordinated. However, even within the structure of the law and its regulations, there is much state discretion in each of those areas.
In each state and territory, there is a lead agency to administer the program; and within that agency, a person is designated as the program’s “Coordinator.” It is the coordinator’s responsibility to administer the program with the state and territory in such a way that it complies with all federal and local requirements in meeting the needs of infants and toddlers and their families.