The importance of early intervention has been mentioned several times already, but you may be wondering, "What is early intervention?"
"Early intervention" means getting started as early as possible to address the individual needs of a child with disabilities. This is done to enhance the infant or toddler's development, to minimize the potential for developmental delay, and to enhance the family's capacity to meet the child's needs. Early intervention is a system of services established by the states through grants from the federal government to help eligible children from birth until their third birthday.
If your child was born with a hearing loss or has developed one before turning three, you may want to get in touch with personnel in the early intervention system in your area. The hospital staff may have already connected you with these services. If not, you may wish to ask your child's doctor or call your state's Parent Training and Information (PTI) center.
Wondering where your PTI is located? NICHCY can provide you with the number for the PTI that serves your area and put you in touch with the early intervention system in your state. Give NICHCY a call at 1-800-695-0285.
Early intervention may be of help to your child and your family in many ways, including learning to communicate with each other. Under the federal early intervention program in your state, if your child is eligible, you'll be assigned a service coordinator to help you understand the intervention system and make sure that your child gets the services to which he or she is entitled. Note: Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), parents have the right to be part of the team that identifies the early intervention services their child needs, called the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team.