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Changes in Early Intervention Eligibility - What You Need to Know
By Deborah Uram, M.S. CCC/SLP

Early Intervention is a federal program that is managed differently from state-to-state. Its purpose is to provide an opportunity for children, birth-age three, who demonstrate a delay in development, to receive supports that may reduce the need for special education and related services in the future. Early Intervention under IDEA requires that children be seen in their “natural environment”, which includes the home and community-based settings.
In PA, children are found eligible for Early Intervention based upon a 25% delay in at least one developmental area (Communication, Cognitive, Physical, Social/Emotional, Adaptive) OR a physical or mental condition that could result in a developmental delay OR a qualified evaluator’s use of well-documented clinical opinion.

Once eligible, children can receive a variety of services, some of which are: Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Developmental Therapy, Social Work, Hearing and Vision, all of which are available at The Early Learning Institute (teli).

Until December, 2013, PA’s Early Intervention program found children eligible in the five developmental areas plus subtest scores in Communication (Receptive and Expressive) and Physical Development (Fine and Gross Motor). Effective Dec. 13, 2013, The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) changed the eligibility criteria and those individual subtest scores are no longer used to determine eligibility. PA is still in compliance with federal law. Input was received from parents, professionals and early intervention leaders.

The Early Learning Institute (teli) has been providing Early Intervention services for children birth-age three for almost 30 years. If your child is no longer eligible for Early Intervention due to the changes in eligibility and you still have concerns about their development, contact us.

Deborah Uram, M.S. CCC/SLP-L is the Director of Out-Patient Speech & Occupational Therapy services at The Early Learning Institute (teli) and President of the Early Intervention Providers Association of PA.

For information on Early Intervention or Out-Patient therapies, call (412) 922-8322 ext. 12 or visit www.telipa.org.

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