Babies & Toddlers

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A wild-haired, exuberant baby.

Babies are such a nice way to start people.
—Don Herald

The birth of a child is an exciting, life-changing event. A beautiful new baby comes to your house, family, and neighborhood. It is a time for celebration. Family members look at the new child and wonder: Will he be a football star, will she be a famous musician, will he discover the cure for cancer, will she become President of the United States?

But what happens when this new child has a disability? What if there are health problems? What if, as time goes by, it seems as if the child isn’t learning and progressing as quickly or easily as other children? What do you do?

This part of NICHCY’s site can help you find answers and people who can help–specifically, through the early intervention system that’s available in every state. Early intervention is an effective way to help very young children (birth to the third birthday) catch up or address specific developmental concerns as soon as possible in their lives. Early intervention services are authorized under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. To learn more about these vital services, explore the topics below.

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Overview of Early Intervention
Learn the basic steps involved in early intervention, including evaluating the baby or toddler to identify his or her needs and determine eligibility for services.
Services in Your State for Infants and Toddlers
Connect with early intervention services for infants and toddlers in your state and find other state resources of help.
Early Intervention, Then and Now  *New! 
Take a look at a bit of early intervention’s history, current statistics of children being served, and the basic requirements that states must meet in order to participate in the Part C program.
Key Terms to Know in Early Intervention  *New!
This page is like visiting a dictionary of important early intervention terms (such as the term “infant or toddler with a disability”). Each definition comes directly from Part C of IDEA.
Parent Notification and Consent  *New! 
Parents are vital partners in early intervention. Learn about two important building blocks of parent involvement: the right to be fully informed by the early intervention system and the right to give (or decline to give) their written consent for activities involving their child or family.
Parent Participation
Parents are the child’s first teacher and know their child best. Here you will find a list of resources for parents to help them understand the valuable role they play in early intervention, and another list for EI providers that will help them promote family involvement.
Writing the IFSP for Your Child
The IFSP is the written plan that parents and professionals put together to address the needs of a baby or toddler. It must have specific information include. Find out how to write an IFSP, what must be included, and what happens after the plan is written.
Transition to Preschool
This section will help you answer some essential questions such as… What happens when my child turns three and is no longer eligible for early intervention services? What is transition and how do I find out what options may be available? Come here to learn more!
Providing Services in Natural Environments New! 
Early intervention services are to be provided in natural environments to the maximum extent appropriate. Find out how the law defines “natural environments,” what’s not considered a natural environment, and where to look for more info on this key requirement.
Public Awareness & the Referral System  *New! 
Through a public awareness program and referral system, each State lets residents know (a) that early intervention services are available to help eligible infants and toddlers with delays or disabilities, and (b) how to refer a child to the Part C system.
Who’s Who in Early Intervention
If you’re an early interventionist and are looking for technical assistance for your program, come here to find the heavy hitters in TA.
Effective Practices in Early Intervention
Learn about effective intervention practices in the field of early childhood education.

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NOTICE: The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY) is no longer in operation. Our funding from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) ended on September 30, 2013. Our website and all its free resources will remain available until September 30, 2014.