What is Early Intervention?
Early Intervention is instruction and guidance to children with disabilities or developmental delays aged birth – 3yrs old. Research and studies show that intervention strategies at an early age have lifelong benefits in the areas of physical, social/emotional, communication, and cognitive development.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires Early Intervention Services to be available in every state – sometimes Early Intervention Services are also referred to as Part C of IDEA.
Early Intervention is a program for children under 3 who have developmental delays, disabilities, or are in at-risk conditions for developmental delays.
At no charge, the Early Intervention program will test infants and toddlers to see if they have a delay in:
- Dealing with others
- Self-help skills
Early Intervention may help provide your child the best start in life, prevent or reduce the need for more intervention in the future, and reduce related costs.
Who is eligible for Early Intervention?
Children from birth – 3yrs old who have a disability or developmental delay may be eligible Early Intervention Services.
Children under the age of 3 who:
- Are experiencing developmental delays in any of the following areas:
- Cognitive development (learning)
- Physical development, including vision and hearing
- Language and speech development
- Social or emotional development (behavior)
- Adaptive development (use of existing skills)
- Have been diagnosed with certain physical or mental conditions (such as cerebral palsy or Down syndrome)
- Have certain family circumstances that put them at risk of substantial delays, such as:
- A parent diagnosed with a developmental disability
- A parent diagnosed with a severe mental disorder
- Any three of the following:
- Primary caregiver abuses alcohol or other substances
- Primary caregiver is younger than 15
- Child is homeless
- Chronic illness of the primary caregiver
- Mother abused alcohol or other substances during pregnancy
- Primary caregiver has an education level less than the 10th grade, unless that level is appropriate to the primary caregiver’s age
- Evidence of abuse or neglect and the child has not been removed from those circumstances
What are the steps to Early Intervention?
Children with disabilities or who are showing developmental delays must first be evaluated first in order to receive Early Intervention Services. The evaluation is free and can take up to 45 days to complete. At conclusion of the evaluation, if the child is found eligible, a team will convene to develop an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) that outlines specific services and goals.
If you are a parent or guardian and have concerns that your child is showing a developmental delay then you should speak with your pediatrician or contact your state Parent Training Center agency for more information about early intervention services. Here is a link to find a center near you: http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center/ or in Nevada, you can contact the statewide early intervention toll free number at 1-800-522-0066 or email to ProjectAssist@dhhs.nv.gov.
- Referral to State of Nevada Early Intervention Programs office
- Intake completed by a service coordinator at the Early Intervention Programs office
- Evaluation (to determine eligibility) and ASSESSMENT
- Development of an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP)
- Parent consent for services
- Services provided to your child
- IFSP review every six months, or more frequently if needed
- Transition to a program for 3- to 5-year-old children
What services are offered?
Various therapies such as speech and language; occupational; nutrition support; assistive technology; and nursing services are just a few of the services that may be provided.
Parent support and training is also an essential piece to the early intervention system. Early Intervention provides these services:
- Assistive technology devices and services
- Early identification screening and assessment
- Family training, counseling and home visits
- Health services that allow your child to benefit from the other early intervention services
- Medical services (only for diagnosis or evaluation)
- Nursing services
- Nutrition services
- Occupational therapy
- Physical therapy
- Psychological services
- Service coordination
- Social work services
- Special instruction/developmental therapy
- Speech language pathology and audiology
- Transportation and related costs
- Vision services
Who provides the services?
The state of Nevada Early Intervention Services program and other providers that contract with the state.
Early Intervention services are available through providers who have met state qualification requirements and service standards. Examples include the following:
- Special educators (developmental therapists)
- Speech/language pathologists and audiologists
- Occupational therapists
- Physical therapists
- Social workers
- Dietitian nutritionists
- Family therapists
- Orientation and mobility specialists
- Pediatricians and other physicians
Who pays for the services?
Services may be covered by your private health insurance, Medicaid, or through the Early Intervention program. The Early Intervention system must obtain your written permission first in order to bill your health care provider. Services cannot be denied due to a family’s inability to pay for them.
The cost of evaluation, assessment and development of a service plan, and the cost of service coordination are paid by the program and provided to families at no cost. Ongoing Early Intervention Services are paid for by the family’s health insurance (with permission) and when appropriate, government insurance, and Early Intervention program funds.
How do I learn more about Early Intervention?
Click on the following links to learn more information or contact NDALC at (702) 257-8150 (Southern Nevada) or (775) 333-7878 (Northern Nevada).
Nevada Interagency Coordinating Council (ICC)
The Council’s primary mission is to advise and assist the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services in the development of and implementation of a statewide system of early intervention services for young children with developmental delays or disabilities and their families.
The council is composed of several different state agencies; higher education entities; early intervention providers; and parent representatives.
Project ASSIST is Nevada’s Central Directory for early intervention and has a federal mandate to provide information, resources, and referral services to inform and educate families of infants and toddlers with disabilities or special health care needs, and the general public.