Congress found there was an urgent need to enhance the development of infants and toddlers with disabilities, to minimize their potential for developmental delay, and to recognize the significant brain development that occurs during a child’s first 3 years of life. First created by Congress in 1983, part H, now Part C under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act provides early intervention services to infants and toddlers under three and their families.
To be eligible for services, children must be under 3 years of age and have a confirmed disability or established developmental delay, as defined by the State, in one or more of the following areas of development: physical, cognitive, communication, social-emotional, and/or adaptive.
Early intervention services means services that are:
- Designed to meet the developmental needs of children and the needs of the family related to enhancing the child's development in accordance with the functional outcomes specified in the individualized family service plan.
- Selected in collaboration with the parent.
- In compliance with state standards.
- Provided by qualified personnel.
- In conformity with an individualized family service (IFSP) and to the maximum extent appropriate, provided in a natural environment.
- At no cost to the family.
Early intervention services include:
- Assistive technology device means any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of children with disabilities.
- Assistive technology service means a service that directly assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device. Assistive technology services include:
(a) the evaluation of the needs of a child with a disability, including a functional evaluation of the child in the child's customary environment;
(b) purchasing, leasing, or otherwise providing for the acquisition of assistive technology devices by children with disabilities;
(c) selecting, designing, fitting, customizing, adapting, applying, maintaining, repairing, or replacing assistive technology devices;
(d) coordinating and using other therapies, interventions, or services with assistive technology devices, such as those associated with existing education and rehabilitation plans and programs;
(e) training or technical assistance for a child with disabilities or, if appropriate, that child's family; and,
(f) training or technical assistance for professionals, (including individuals providing early intervention services) or other individuals who provide services to, or are otherwise substantially involved in, the major life functions of individuals with disabilities.