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Early intervention services are designed for children under 3 years of age who have developmental delays or disabilities.

Children eligible for early intervention services must be experiencing developmental delays in one or more of the following areas: cognitive development; physical development, including vision and hearing; language and speech development; psycho-social development; and self-help skills. Children may also be eligible due to diagnosed physical or mental conditions (such as cerebral palsy or Down syndrome) or certain family circumstances that put them at risk of having substantial delays.

Early intervention services include, but are not limited to: developmental evaluations and assessments, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech/language therapy, nutrition services, psychological services and social work services.

There is a statewide, family-centered early intervention services system in place to help eligible children ages birth to 3 years who are in need of early intervention services. The services system was established with advice and assistance from the Illinois Interagency Council on Early Intervention, which is comprised of 8 state agencies, parents, early intervention service providers and other key stakeholders. The Illinois Department of Human Services is the lead agency for early intervention.

Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires that the parents of a child suspected of having a developmental delay or disability be referred to the early intervention services system within two working days after a child has been identified.

Individualized Family Service Plans (IFSPs) are developed for eligible children and their families. The plan outlines the services and supports the family chooses to receive to meet the individual needs of their child. Service coordinators help families obtain the services identified in the IFSP.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, as of December 2000, 230,420 children were receiving early intervention services in the United States. All states are providing early intervention services to eligible children and their families.

There are more than 4000 service providers delivering early intervention services to families in Illinois.

The need for early intervention services affects families from all socioeconomic backgrounds, in communities across the state.

An ongoing public awareness campaign called Look What I Can Do is educating families, policymakers, health care and child care providers about the critical need for early intervention services in Illinois.


1-800-323-4769 (voice/TTY)

Look What I Can Do

Early Intervention For Your Children With Developmental Delays

The Sooner We Start, The Farther They'll Go.

Department of Human Services Early Intervention web site:  EI Providers - EI Customers - About EI

To order Public Awareness materials call 1-800-851-6197.