Early Services, 0-5 Years

Acting Early

Research shows that early discovery, diagnosis, and treatment of children with developmental delays or disabilities leads to better outcomes in developmental skills, academic performance, and social skills. Sometimes developmental issues, which can affect learning and behavior, are not found until children enter school. But if you notice a developmental delay in the first year or two of your child’s life, immediate and necessary action will improve your child’s chance of entering school ready to learn alongside his peers.

Early Intervention Program

The Early Intervention Part C program provides services for children with developmental delays through the federally-funded IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) Early Intervention program in your state. The Early Intervention Part C Program page describes the IDEA mandate, Early Intervention program processes and services, and the partnerships between the family, the Medical Home, and the Early Intervention program.

Additional Early Services

While the Early Intervention Part C program provides services for infants and toddlers with disabilities, there are additional government and private services available to help your child, especially if your child does not qualify for the Early Intervention program. Children can often be enrolled in more than one program since each program may have a slightly different focus and eligibility requirements. The Additional Early Services page will describe these services.

Home Visiting Services

For families with infants and young children who are at risk for developmental delays or who have special health care needs, home visiting programs may be able to provide some direct services and referrals to other helpful services. The Additional Early Services page describes these programs.
To find Home Visiting services in your state, see Home Visiting Program: State Fact Sheets.

Authors & Reviewers

Initial publication: April 2013; last update/revision: October 2019
Current Authors and Reviewers:
Authors: Alfred N. Romeo, RN, PhD
Gina Pola-Money
Reviewer: Tina Persels