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Special Health Issues
Special Health Issues: Early Intervention
What is Early Intervention?
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) includes a national agenda to increase and improve services for young children with special needs, birth to 3 years of age. Two major portions of IDEA are particularly critical to the expansion and improvement of services to infants and toddlers, Part C Early Intervention and Part B, Section 619 Preschool.
In the District of Columbia, the Division of Special Education's (DSE) DC Early Intervention Program (DC EIP) within the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) is called the Strong Start campaign.
The Strong Start campaign is intended to get parents thinking about the possibility that their child may be showing signs of a disability, and that provides a single point of entry for these parents to learn about their options.
What Services are Provided?
Early intervention services are provided based on the developmental needs of the child, the concerns and priorities of the family, and the resources available to them. Services are provided within the context of the child and family’s daily activities and routines. Early intervention services include:
Children covered under Medicaid can also qualify for Early Intervention and Early Head Start services.
Children can be referred for free eligibility evaluation that looks at all five areas of their development (cognitive, motor, adaptive, communication, and social and emotional). If the child meets eligibility requirements, a plan is made with the family and services determined.
How Do I refer?
Anyone can refer a child for an early intervention evaluation. There are several ways to do this:
What Happens in Preschool?
As a child approaches 3, services transition to interconnected community and education programs. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part B, Section 619, provides special education and related services for preschoolers with disabilities, through DC's Early Stages Program (3-5 years) and community Head Start programs.
What Happens After Preschool?
As children approach school-age, decisions are made regarding the need for special education and related services and educational placement. Schools are obligated to find the least restrictive environment to education children with special need. Information about the special education process, including determining if a child needs special education, inclusion, and full service schools can be found through the DC Public Schools' Department of Special Education.
Other Early Intervention Resources