Early Intervention

Supports and Services - Preschool

  • April 3rd, 2011
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Preschool Early Intervention services are intended to address the developmental needs of children with developmental delays or disabilities who are between three years and the age of beginners. The importance of Early Intervention is well established. Quality Early Intervention services can ameliorate and sometimes correct the delays and challenges that some young learners experience. Through Early Intervention, eligible children receive the targeted support they need to achieve optimal development and learning.

Through a unique collaboration between the Departments of Education (PDE) and Human Services (DHS), the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) administers the Commonwealth’s Early Intervention Program for eligible preschoolers. At a local level, the OCDEL contracts services through intermediate units (IUs), school districts, and private agencies for local services to preschoolers from three years of age to the age of beginners.

Children are typically referred to Early Intervention because of concerns about their development. A screening is often the first step in the process. If the screening or other information indicates a need for more extensive evaluation, a Permission to Evaluate form is processed and a multidisciplinary evaluation is conducted. The evaluation is conducted by qualified professionals, includes parents, and uses valid tools and procedures to investigate referral concerns and all areas of development. Eligibility for services is determined by the evaluation team and is based on:

  1. The identification of a developmental disability or a qualifying developmental delay, and
  2. A demonstrated need for special education services

Once eligibility is determined, the evaluation team writes an Individualized Education Plan(IEP). The IEP specifies goals and specially designed instruction and services and supports for the child (and family if desired). Once services are in place, a child’s progress is monitored regularly and any needed program adjustments are made.

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