IDEA Early Intervention (Part C)

Why the Program is Needed

Research has shown that the time between birth and age 36 months is a critical developmental period in a child’s life. Early intervention programs minimize, and in some cases prevent, delays in development of infants and toddlers with disabilities.  They can decrease the need for special education and related services when a child enters school, and increase independence. Children whose special needs are identified and addressed during these crucial early years have a greater chance of reaching their full potential.

What it Does

Provides grants for statewide systems of early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families.  States also may elect to provide services to infants and toddlers who are at risk of having substantial developmental delays if appropriate early intervention services are not provided.    Early intervention services include early identification, screening, and assessment services, occupational therapy; physical therapy; health services; psychological services;  special instruction; assistive technology devices and services; and family training, counseling, and home visits; among other services.  In fiscal year 2008, this program served 321,894 infants and toddlers with disabilities.

Authorizing Legislation

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (20 U.S.C. 1433)

Recent Funding

Please see the table on the Funding for Federal Disability-related Programs page.

For More Information