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Early Intervention

While all children grow and develop in unique ways, some children experience delays in their development. Children in Pennsylvania with developmental delays and disabilities benefit from a state supported collaboration among parents, service practitioners and others who work with young children. Pennsylvania's Early Intervention program provides support and services to families with children, from birth to age five, with developmental delays and disabilities. Early intervention builds upon the natural learning opportunities that occur within the daily routines of a child and their family.

Early Intervention supports services and resources for children that enhance daily opportunities for learning provided in settings where a child would be if they did not have a developmental delay and disability, provides families' independence and competencies, and respects families' strengths, values and diversity. 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
    • Adaptive development

Make a Referral

Parents who have questions about their child's development may call the CONNECT Helpline: 1-800-692-7288.

The CONNECT Helpline assists families in locating resources and providing information regarding child development for children ages birth to age five. In addition, CONNECT can assist parents by making a direct link to their county Early Intervention program or local preschool Early Intervention program. If you are unable to connect with your EI program, or you have difficulty starting teleintervention services, please email the Office of Child Development and Early Learning: ra-ocdintervention@pa.gov.

Eligibility and Services

Children from birth to age five who have special needs due to developmental delays and disabilities are eligible to receive Early Intervention services.

The services provided to children and their families differ based upon the individual needs and strengths of each child and the child's family. Services such as parent education, support services, developmental therapies and other family-centered services that assist in child development and may be included in a family's Early Intervention program.

Early Intervention promotes collaboration among parents, service providers and other important people in the child's life to enhance the child's development and support the needs of the family.

Services may be provided in the child's home, child care center, nursery school, play group, Head Start program, early childhood special education classroom or other settings familiar to the family. Early Intervention provides supports and services in a variety of settings. Early Intervention supports and services are embedded in typical routines and activities, within the family, community and/or early care and education settings. This approach provides frequent, meaningful practice and skill-building opportunities.

Costs

Early Intervention services are provided at no cost to families.