Early Intervention

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

National Information Center for Children and Youth With Disabilities: Educate Kids Ages 0-3
Overview of early intervention and the transition to preschool.

Zero to Three
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.