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?
If you are just beginning to learn about early intervention in Illinois, these resources can provide you with essential information.
- Illinois Action for Children Video: Early Intervention
This short two-minute video explains what early intervention is and how EI in Illinois helps infants and toddlers reach their potential.
- EIC Tip Sheet: What Happens During a Typical Early Intervention Visit?
This tip sheet explains what happens during a typical EI visit and how families are active participants in early intervention.
- EITP Video: Introduction to Early Intervention
This 15-minute video discusses and shows the many benefits for supporting early intervention services for children and their families. EI providers and families share their experiences of how this partnership benefits everyone involved.
- IEL Resource List: Early Intervention
This resource list provides resources and information about the early intervention system in Illinois.
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. Learn more about milestones and delays with these resources.
- CDC: Developmental Milestones
On this website, you can find milestone checklists for children 2 months to 5 years old, download the CDC’s free milestone tracker app, and learn what to do if you are concerned about your child’s development.
- Zero to Three: How the Brain, Body, and Mind Grow: Birth to 12 months
These downloadable booklets provide information on developmental milestones for parents of very young children birth through 12 months. Learn what to expect, what you can do, and what your baby needs most.
- IEL Blog: Developmental Milestones, Infant Toddler Guidelines, and Early Learning Standards: Metrics for Young Children
This blog explains what milestones, guidelines, and standards are and how they are used in early childhood education and early intervention.
- IEL Questions and Answers (Q&A): Development in Young Children
Families can learn about the general pattern of physical, social, and emotional development from birth to age 5 and what parents should do if they are concerned about their child’s development.
- IEL Resource List: Speech Development and Delays
This resource list gathers IEL tip sheets and other web resources pertaining to speech development and delays in young children.
- The Hanen Centre: Don’t Wait and See, Research Suggests
This article summarizes research that shows that late-talking toddlers benefit greatly from early language support and speech therapy.
- The Hanen Centre: Do Late Talkers “Grow Out of It”?
This article asserts that early intervention can increase your child’s odds for long-term success in language, literacy, and other important developmental areas.
- CDC: Why Act Early If You’re Concerned About Development?
This short article explains how you can act early on developmental concerns and why it is important to act early to help your child.
EI Resources for Families
Families of infants and toddlers can learn more about early intervention through the following resources.
- EITP Family Handout: What Is Early Intervention?
This handout explains Illinois’ early intervention program, the EI team, and what happens during an EI visit.
- EIC Tip Sheet: The Family’s Role in Early Intervention: How You Can Help Your Child
This tip sheet explains specific ways that families can help their child through EI.
- EIC Tip Sheet: Who Is on Your Early Intervention Team?
This tip sheet shows families all the members of their early intervention team and their roles.
- EITP Video: Parents and Early Intervention
This 8 minute video highlights one Illinois family’s journey through the Early Intervention process with their first child.
- Illinois Department of Human Services: A Guide for Families, the Illinois Early Intervention Program
This comprehensive state document can help guide families through the Illinois early intervention program from eligibility to participation in services to their rights.
- IEL Questions and Answers (Q&A): Finding Help for Young Children With Special Needs
This Q&A addresses evaluations, parent support groups, developmental delays, autism, and learning disabilities.
- IEL Resource List: Moving from Early Intervention to PreK: What Parents and Caregivers Want to Know
This resource list gathers IEL and web resources on the topic of transition from EI to PreK or preschool.
EI Resources for Early Childhood Professionals
Early childhood professionals working with infants and toddlers can learn more about early intervention through the following resources.
- EITP Booklet: A Guide to Early Intervention Services in Illinois
This booklet describes how the early intervention system works in Illinois and how childcare providers can help support young children with disabilities and delays and their families. Also in Spanish.
- EITP Handout: Working with Early Intervention as a Child Care Provider
This handout gives childcare teachers the steps for EI referral and intervention and provides advice on how to work together with early intervention as a team for a young child with disabilities or delays. Also in Spanish.
- EIC Tip Sheet: Natural Environments: Where All Children Belong
This tip sheet shows where young children learn and grow, in their natural environments, and how these spaces can be used for early intervention. Also in Spanish.
- EITP Video: Early Intervention & Child Care … Natural Partners in Natural Environments
This video discusses and shows the many benefits of early intervention services for children in their childcare setting. EI providers, childcare providers, and families share their experiences of how this partnership benefits everyone involved.
- IEL Podcast: Including Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities in Child Care
On this podcast, Dr. Jenna Weglarz-Ward, an assistant professor in early childhood education and early childhood special education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, talks about the inclusion of infants and toddlers with disabilities and developmental delays in childcare settings.
- IEL Podcast: Listening to Family Voices in Early Childhood Programs
This podcast features Dr. Christine Spence, an assistant professor of early childhood special education at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her research focuses on high-quality supports for families and providers participating in early intervention and early childhood special education systems. She talks about listening to families’ voices in early childhood programs.