Comparison of Federal vs. State “Early Intervention” Programs

Federal “Early Intervention”
Covers birth to age 3
Need is not determined by income
Requires determination of medical need by physician

"Early Intervention" - Federal program for ages birth to 3 years regardless of income to provide a variety of interventions for individuals born with special needs.

State “Early Intervention”
Covers ages 3 to 5
Need may be determined by income
Must show necessity for intervention based on ‘ability to learn’ as determined by the local Public Education Board

"Early Intervention" - State programs for ages 3 - 5 years of age. Designed to provide interventions that will help the child become better prepared to begin and succeed in the public educational system.

After the child reaches the age of 3, the child will “age out” of the Federal program. The child may begin receiving services from the State, based on a different set of needs criteria, as determined by each State.  It is very important that the parent initiate discussion and understand the process of transitioning from the Federal program to the State program, as soon as possible.

The transition plan and process is usually begun about 6 months prior to leaving the Federal program, when the child is approximately 30 months of age. The intent is to provide a smooth transition with no lag time between services provided for the benefit of the child. Ultimately, it is the parent’s responsibility to advocate for their child and be proactive about obtaining services from any and all available resources.

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