When a very young child shows delays in development, there are services in Illinois to support the child and their family. Early intervention (EI) services focus on infants and toddlers with disabilities and delays, birth through age 3, and their families.
This tool kit includes resources that explain early intervention in Illinois and help families understand whether their child is on track with developmental milestones. It also describes EI resources for families and provides EI resources for early childhood professionals, illustrating how EI and childcare can work together.
What Is Early Intervention?
Early Intervention is a service provided for young children, ages 0-3, with disabilities and developmental delays. If you are just beginning to learn about early intervention in Illinois, the videos Illinois Action Early Intervention and Introduction to Early Intervention are great places to start your knowledge journey.
Is My Child on Track?
Families may be concerned about their child’s development. Becoming familiar with the developmental milestones for your child’s age is important. Watching your child as they play, move, and learn gives you information about how your child is hitting milestones. CDC’s Developmental Milestones and Development from Birth to 12 Months Old: Forming a Trusting Bond to Nurture Learning are great tools for learning more about milestones and delays.
Navigating the world of developmental milestones can be challenging. The IEL blog Developmental Milestones, Infant Toddler Guidelines, and Early Learning Standards: Metrics for Young Children, explains what milestones, guidelines, and standards are and how they are used in early childhood education and early intervention.
It can be helpful for parents to have an overall understanding of how children learn and grown. The IEL tool kit Child Development can help families learn about the general pattern of physical, social, and emotional development from birth to age 5 and what they should do if they are concerned about their child’s development.
Sometimes parents have specific areas of concern, such as speech and language or motor development. To learn more about these specific domains, take a look at these IEL resource lists:
- Communication and Oral Language in Infants and Toddlers
- Emotional Development
- Motor Development for Infants and Toddlers
- Speech Development and Delays
- Young Children’s Mental Health
EI Resources for Families
Families of infants and toddlers can learn more about early intervention. A great place to start is with the video illustration, Parents and Early Intervention.
Other helpful resources from Illinois Early Learning include:
- Early Intervention
- Finding Help for Young Children With Disabilities and Developmental Delays
- Moving from Early Intervention to PreK: What Parents and Caregivers Want to Know
EI Resources for Early Childhood Professionals
Early childhood professionals working with infants and toddlers will want to have a strong knowledge base of how the early intervention system works. A Guide to Early Intervention Services in Illinois is a helpful starting point. Childcare teachers may be unfamiliar with EI services, and can gain helpful understanding from the resource Working with Early Intervention as a Child Care Provider. Early Intervention services should always be provided in a child’s natural environment. This point is nicely illustrated in Early Intervention & Child Care … Natural Partners in Natural Environments.
Illinois Early Learning has a few podcasts that can provide additional perspective on the early intervention relationships built upon parents, EI providers, and childcare staff.
- Including Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities in Child Care
- Listening to Family Voices in Early Childhood Programs
- Tool Kit: Child Development
- Resource Lists:
- Q&A: Finding Help for Young Children with Disabilities and Developmental Delays
- Blog: Developmental Milestones: Infant Toddler Guidelines, and Early Learning Standards: Metrics for Young Children