Mapping the Journey from Birth to Kindergarten: The 4 Ws of Early Intervention

Article
Aug. 20, 2021Updated Oct. 31, 2022
Early intervention can make a huge positive impact on the lives and development of children with developmental delays and disabilities. Of course, figuring out how to determine and prioritize the best care — not to mention navigating wait lists and funding sources — can be difficult (if not sometimes downright frustrating). If you have questions about whether your child is eligible, what the evaluation process is like, or what age is the right age for a diagnosis, you’re not alone. We’ve gathered plenty of expert advice and useful information to help you through every step of this journey.

WHO do you go to for help?

WHAT is early intervention?

Here you’ll find a straightforward explanation of early intervention and how it can help your family — what services are involved, how they are funded, and who qualifies for them.

WHEN should you start?

Learn more about the timeline for early intervention, and hear from four therapists about the different types of therapies that make up the backbone of early intervention. We’ve also included some of the early milestones you can look out for in an infant’s first year.

WHY (or not) is a diagnosis beneficial?

We spoke to experts about the benefits and potential pitfalls of pursuing an early diagnosis, and why putting into place the services a child needs is ultimately the most important goal in early intervention.
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Contents


Overview

WHO do you go to for help?

WHAT is early intervention?

WHEN should you start?

WHY (or not) is a diagnosis beneficial?

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Related Parent Questions

When should I start early intervention services?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer, but there are certain milestones in an infant’s first year to pay attention to when it comes to seeking out speech, physical, occupational, and behavioral therapy. Eighty percent of brain growth occurs during the first three years of life, so earlier is better.
Is my child eligible for Regional Center early intervention services?
Under California law, children are eligible for early intervention services if they have a developmental delay or are at risk of a developmental delay. Learn the specific criteria for Regional Center eligibility.
Can a child without developmental delays get Regional Center services?
An infant or toddler with a low-incidence disability may be eligible for early intervention services from the local education agency (LEA) even if the child does not have sufficient developmental delay to qualify for Regional Center services.

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