What Is Early Intervention?
Since 1964, Colorado has been helping families and their children with developmental delays and disabilities. The overall system of early intervention is known as Early Intervention Colorado. Colorado’s early intervention system guides families along the way, in order to support infants and toddlers who need extra help developing and learning to reach their fullest potential.
How Do I Get Started?
The first step in getting started with Early Intervention (EI) Services is a referral. Referrals usually come from doctors, but they can come from many different health care or education specialists, or from you. If you are concerned about your child or loved one’s development and would like to make a referral, please contact Early Intervention Colorado by clicking on the following link: Early Intervention Colorado Referral.
Once you have referred your child, a state care navigator will contact you, complete intake and schedule your child for an evaluation to see if you are eligible.
Who Is Eligible For Early Intervention Services?
All infants and toddlers referred for early intervention services have the right to a free multidisciplinary evaluation. Multidisciplinary means a group that includes, at a minimum, at least two appropriate and qualified professionals, at least one of whom has expertise in your primary area of concern for your child and your service coordinator. Information from the multidisciplinary evaluation is used to determine your child’s eligibility and will look at all five areas of your child’s development. Unless you request otherwise, the multidisciplinary evaluation must be completed within 45 days of the referral date.
You must sign a written permission form before any evaluation of your child occurs.
Your child and family may receive early intervention services if:
Your child and family live in Colorado.
Your child is between birth to three years of age.
Your child meets state requirements.
What Services Will My Child Receive?
The service coordinator will help your family identify your strengths and needs, find resources, think about decisions, and develop a plan to address your child’s and family’s needs. They will also coordinate all the services being received and make sure that the rights of your child and family are protected. Once your child has been determined eligible for Early Intervention (EI) services, the next step is to develop an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP).
The IFSP is your family’s written plan for services. This document lists the EI services your child needs to develop and learn and/or the services your family needs to support your child’s development. IFSP outcomes will be functional and based on your concerns and priorities. The most common services offered in Early Intervention are Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Speech Therapy.
How Long Will My Child Receive Early Intervention Services?
If your child is still involved in the Early Intervention (EI) program as they approach their third birthday, you will begin planning steps for their transition out of the EI program. This process can begin as soon as your child turns two-years and three-months old. At this time, your service coordinator will schedule an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) meeting during which time you and members of your IFSP team will develop a transition plan as part of your child’s IFSP. Learn more about transitioning out of EI services here.
Transition is different for every family. There are several ways your child may make the transition to the next step in his or her growth and learning:
Your child may leave the Early Intervention Colorado program before age three.
Your child may be eligible for preschool special education services through your local public school district by age three.
Your child may transition to other available supports in your community at age three.