Early intervention is the term used to describe services that reach a child early in his or her development, usually from birth through age three. Intervention is vital during this very early time because a child learns and develops at the fastest rate during these first few years. It’s important not to miss out on this crucial part of your child’s development, as it may be more difficult to teach skills to your child as he or she gets older.
Broadly speaking, early intervention services are special services designed to identify and meet a child’s needs in five developmental areas:
- Movement (physical development)
- Learning (cognitive development)
- Interaction (communication development)
- Behavior (social or emotional development)
- Adaptive development (use of existing skills)
Examples of early intervention services include medical services, physical and occupational therapy, and assistive technology devices. A service can be as simple as prescribing glasses for a two-year-old or as complex as developing a complete physical therapy program for an infant with cerebral palsy. The goal is always to help the child achieve the highest possible functioning and interaction at home and in the community. An early intervention program can also provide support and guidance to your family.
Learn more about early intervention on the My Child Without Limits web site.
Find your state Early Intervention Program to learn more about services provided in your community.
Other Helpful Resources
ZERO TO THREE is a national, nonprofit organization that informs, trains, and supports professionals, policymakers, and parents in their efforts to improve the lives of infants and toddlers.
Transition refers to the time when youth with disabilities leave the school system and continue to adult life–college, vocational training, employment, and/or independent living. This is a time when many youths “fall through the cracks” and lose services and supports that enable them to lead an independent, productive life. Planning for life after high school should be included in a student’s Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) by age 16. In fact, this is mandated by the IDEA.
Resources for Youths
Directory of Transition Websites
Explains how youths can use their IEP to plan for their future after graduation.
Going to College is a website designed to help youth with disabilities plan for college.
A fun, interactive web site for youth with games, on-line journal, life maps and more that help youth with disabilities realize their employment, education, and independent living goals.
An informative website featuring multiple resources, including a services database, to assist both parents and students with selecting and attending college.
Resources for Parents
Toolkit with strategies and resources for families of youth with disabilities to assist in creating successful transition plans.
PACER provides individual assistance, workshops, publications, and resources to help families make decisions about education and services for their child or young adult with disabilities.
Information on transition from the National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities
Resources for Educators
NSTTAC helps states build capacity to support and improve transition planning, services, and outcomes for youth with disabilities and disseminate information and provide technical assistance on scientifically-based research practices with an emphasis on building and sustaining state-level infrastructures of support and district-level demonstrations of effective transition methods for youth with disabilities.
Other Helpful Resources
A web-based clearinghouse that serves as an information exchange of educational resources, support services and opportunities related disability, counseling, transition and postsecondary education.
Online training modules, podcasts, and materials on transition for students, parents, and school personnel.
The Center coordinates national resources, offers technical assistance, and disseminates information related to secondary education and transition for youth with disabilities to create opportunities for youth to achieve successful futures.
The National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) assists state and local workforce development systems to better serve all youth, including youth with disabilities and other disconnected youth. The Center is composed of partners with expertise in education, youth development, disability, employment, workforce development and family issues.
Educators play a vital role in helping children with disabilities achieve their full potential. The following resources offer useful tips and information that will help to enhance the educational and social needs for children with disabilities in the classroom.
Information for teachers on helping students with disabilities achieve their full potential including specifics of the IDEA, professional development resources and best practices.
This Tool Kit from the Department of Education brings together the most current and accurate information, including research briefs and resources designed to improve instruction, assessment, and accountability for students with disabilities.
The TA&D Network supports projects that provide information and technical assistance to states, local schools, educational professionals and families. The projects address topics such as autism, deafness, disproportional representation, dispute resolution, learning disabilities, parenting children with special needs, positive behavior support and transition.
The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) is the largest international professional organization dedicated to improving the educational success of individuals with disabilities and/or gifts and talents. CEC advocates for appropriate governmental policies, sets professional standards, provides professional development, advocates for individuals with exceptionalities, and helps professionals obtain conditions and resources necessary for effective professional practice.
Educators who integrate disability awareness training into their classroom help break down barriers and promote acceptance for children with disabilities. Some resources for teachers, students and parents includes the following.
Easter Seals’ FRIENDS WHO CARE® is designed to help children better understand what it means and how it feels to be a young person with a disability. This educational program gives students the opportunity to learn what is involved when someone has a disability and how they adapt to live life, go to school, or work as independently as possible.
A web site for kids that helps them learn about disabilities through games, trivia, and fun facts.
Tips from the United Spinal Association on disability etiquette that help people interact and communicate more effectively with people with disabilities.
Other Helpful Resources
The Accessible Classroom Primer (ACP) includes resources to help educators address the accessibility needs of students with disabilities and ensure that ALL students have access to the general education environment and curriculum.
Bookshare — Making Print Accessible
Bookshare® is a searchable, online library of digital books available free of charge to people with print disabilities. The collection includes textbooks, novels, periodicals and assistive technology tools for readers of all ages. Users can have memberships through their school, organization, and/or an individual membership for use at home.
Reading materials are downloaded electronically and then read using compatible adaptive technology, typically software that reads the book aloud (text-to-speech) and/or displays the text of the book on a computer screen, or Braille access devices, such as refreshable Braille displays. There are even apps you can use with either your iOS device or your Android device.
UCP provides comprehensive employment-related resources and information. Across the country, UCP affiliates provide employment programs and assistance to job seekers with disabilities and work with employers to improve the recruitment and retention of persons with disabilities in the workforce.
People with disabilities have made great strides in the workforce; however, there is still a long way to go. Employment statistics show this disparity–approximately 20% of people with disabilities are in the workforce, compared to 80% of people without a disability.
Learn about the laws and regulations that help people with disabilities gain and maintain employment.
The US Office on Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) is a reliable source of information on employment and disability. ODEP provides national leadership on disability employment by developing and influencing the use of evidence-based disability employment policies and practices.
Other Helpful Resources
The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is the leading source of free, expert, and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues.
This toolkit helps both employers and employees understand the return-to-work process and provides resources to assist in getting employees back on the job quickly and smoothly.
The National Center on Workforce and Disability provides training, technical assistance, policy analysis, and information to improve access for all in the workforce development system.
The Alliance for Full Participation (AFP) is a formal partnership of leading developmental disabilities organizations with a common vision—to create a better and more fulfilling quality of life for people with developmental disabilities.
As a founding member of the AFP, UCP is committed to supporting the vision of this partnership of 15 national organizations-to create a better and fulfilling quality of life for people with disabilities through employment.