While all children grow and develop in unique ways, some experience delays in their development. Children in Pennsylvania with developmental delays benefit from a state supported collaboration among parents, service practitioners, and others who work with young children needing special services. The Pennsylvania Early Intervention program provides support and services to families with children, from birth to age five, with developmental delays and disabilities. Early Intervention builds upon the natural learning opportunities that occur within the daily routines of a child and their family.
- Supports services and resources for children that enhance daily opportunities for learning provided in settings where a child would be if he/she did not have a development delay.
- Provides strategies for families to promote independence and competency in specialized areas.
- Respects families’ strengths, values and diversity.
Early Intervention supports and services are designed to meet the developmental needs of children with a delay as well as the needs of the family related to enhancing the child’s development in one or more of the following areas:
- Physical development, including vision and hearing
- Cognitive development
- Communication development
- Social or emotional development
- Adaptive development
Children from birth to age 5 who have special needs due to developmental delays are eligible to receive Early Intervention services. Services may be provided in a the child’s home, child care center, nursery school, play group, Head Start program, early childhood special education classroom, or other settings familiar to the family. Early Intervention supports and services are embedded in typical routines and activities, within the family, community, and/or early care and education settings. This approach provides frequent, meaningful practice and skill building opportunities. Early intervention services are provided at no cost to families.
Parents who have questions about their child’s development may contact the CONNECT Helpline through the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare at 1-800-692-7288. The CONNECT line assists families in locating resources and providing information regarding child development for children ages birth to age 5. In addition, CONNECT can assist parents by making a direct link to their county Early Intervention program or local preschool Early Intervention program.
Choices for Children, offered through the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf, is a state-wide program for Early Intervention services to families of deaf and hard of hearing children and has been proudly serving families for over 30 years.