Navigate Life Texas: Resources for kids with disabilities and special needs

Navigate Life Texas: Resources for kids with disabilities and special needs

Does Your Child Need ECI (Early Childhood Intervention) Services?

Have you heard of the Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) Program?  It’s a great program that can provide services to your child and family!  ECI serves children from birth until their 3rd birthday.  If your child is born with a disability or is not meeting their developmental milestones, your child’s pediatrician or child care worker may refer you to your local Early Childhood Program.  Or if you are concerned about your child’s development, you can make the referral as well. 

What happens after the referral is made?  An ECI team made up of therapists and specialists schedule your first visit.  They learn about your family and conduct an evaluation to see if your child qualifies for ECI services.

If your child qualifies for services, the ECI team develops an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP).  The plan has information about your child and the strategies and services the ECI Team believes will help your child.  It includes their recommendations for services and therapies and will also include how many times each month they should be provided.  The ECI Team will contact your child's doctor and obtain the necessary authorizations for the services and therapies to take place.

During your child’s therapy sessions, you will learn helpful strategies from the therapist to use during the week.  The goal is to help your child make progress.  ECI therapies for children include speech, occupational and physical therapy.  Family services include counseling, case management, nutritional services, specialized skills training and transition services. 

ECI will provide services to your child until they reach their developmental milestones or until they turn 3 years old, whichever comes first.  If your child has not reached their developmental milestones by the time they turn 3 years old, the transition team can then recommend services from the school district, Head Start or a private therapy provider.  It is up to you to decide which of these services, if any, you choose for your child.  Your child also has to qualify for the services. 

A medical diagnosis or confirmed developmental delay is not necessary to make a referral.  If you are concerned about your child’s development contact ECI today to obtain an evaluation to see if they qualify.   Look for early childhood intervention programs in your area at Find Services, Groups & Events.