Early Intervention

What is Early Intervention?

Pennsylvania’s Early Intervention (EI) program provides support and services to families with children who have developmental delays or disability from birth to age five.  Early Intervention focuses on learning opportunities in a child’s daily routine to enhance physical, cognitive, communication, social, emotional and adaptive development.

What services are available to support young children with developmental delays?

EI supports and services are designed to meet the developmental needs of children with a disability as well as the needs of the family related to enhancing the child’s development in one or more of the following areas:

• Physical development, including vision and hearing
• Cognitive development
• Communication development
• Social or emotional development

In order to improve long-term outcomes for the child, EI services focus on interventions in the home and community, including at child care sites, nursery schools or other settings identified by the family.  EI services are provided at no cost to families, and can include information on how children develop skills and abilities, education and support for the parent/caregiver, and developmental therapies designed for the child receiving EI service.

What does county government do to help young children in need of early intervention services?

County MH/ID programs or their service coordination units can verify if a child is eligible for EI.  Counties provide early intervention services for children up to age 3.  Ages 3 to 5 are served by the state Office of Childhood Development and Early Learning.  Counties also assure availability of EI Service Coordinators who are assigned to evaluate eligibility for EI services and facilitate a service planning process for the family.  Counties manage a limited amount of base funds allocated by the state for services that are not covered by Medicaid, and county property tax dollars support a small amount of required match to draw down state dollars.

How do I access services?

Persons interested in more information regarding eligibility for early intervention services should contact their county MH/ID/EI office.

How do I receive information about Early Intervention Services or make a referral to Early Intervention?

Parents who have questions about their child’s development may contact the CONNECT Helpline at 800-692-7288.  The CONNECT Helpline assists families in locating resources and providing information regarding child development for children ages birth to age 5.  In addition, CONNECT can assist parents by making a direct link to their county Early Intervention program or local preschool Early Intervention program.