What Are the Types of Early Intervention?

Early intervention can mean a lot of things, from helping your child play and grow to helping them learn to speak or move. In this article, we’ll explore ten of the different types of services associated with early intervention, what they involve, and how they could help your child and family.

10 Types of Early Intervention Services

Any infant or toddler (between ages 0-6) that has a disability or developmental delay may qualify for early intervention services through BabyNet or the South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs (DDSN). However, the types of services a child receives varies depending on their individual needs. Therefore, your child may be eligible for one or more of the following ten services. 

1. Evaluations

Early intervention services always start with a professional evaluation to determine your child’s specific needs, create an individualized educational plan (IEP), and set learning and growth goals. An early interventionist will meet with you and your child, assess their development through a variety of activities, and take notes on what they observe. Once they’ve drafted an IEP based on their observations, they’ll call you or meet with you to review the plan.

2. Service Coordination/Case Management

If your child is eligible for early intervention services, you will be matched with a service coordinator to manage your child’s case. The service coordinator is your go-to person for gaining access to services and ensuring your child and your family’s rights are protected.
As part of this, your service coordinator will draft an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). While an IEP focuses mainly on your child’s needs and goals, an IFSP is a more holistic plan that includes the services your whole family needs to enhance your child’s development. It pulls all the services your child is eligible for and all the resources your family needs into one document.

3. Speech Therapy

If your child has trouble speaking — either they don’t talk or they struggle to talk — it can cause frustration as they struggle to express what they need and want. Speech therapy can help determine the root cause of your child’s delay or disability, as well as provide a plan of action for how your child can learn to overcome those obstacles.

4. Physical and Occupational Therapy

If your child hasn’t met key physical development milestones, they may benefit from physical and/or occupational therapy. The goal of physical therapy and occupational therapy is to help your child improve their small and fine motor skills so that they are able to explore and live in their environment independently. This could include things like flexibility, strength, posture, gait, sensory processing, balance, and coordination. 

5. Infant Massage

Infant massage isn’t just a way to pamper your child. Instead, rubbing their muscles and stroking their body can keep your child relaxed and healthy, providing a range of benefits including reduced stress, improved sleep, stimulated growth, improved gastrointestinal functioning, and relieved teething pain. It’s also a great way to strengthen the bond between you and your child!

6. Hearing and Vision Services

If your child struggles to hear or see, they may be eligible for early intervention services to help determine the root cause of the issue and the right steps to help your child overcome it. Often, this involves securing the appropriate adaptive equipment and technology, like hearing aids or glasses, that your child needs.

7. Nutrition Services

Nutrition services are a type of early intervention that can help underweight children or children that need to adhere to special diets. Sometimes this involves the early interventionist recommending a special diet, and other times this involves referring your child to a nutritionist.

8. Nursing Services

If your child has a developmental delay or disability that requires things like tube feeding or bandage cleaning, nursing services can help. Through nursing services, a professional will meet with you and your child to help teach you how to manage those responsibilities and provide your child with the best possible care.

9. Special Instruction/Family Training

Often, early intervention isn’t just about the child. We understand that if your child has a developmental delay or disability, your whole family can be affected in one way or another. Special instruction and family training takes those needs into account and provides you with the resources you need to take care of your child in the best way. For example, if your child struggles with speech or hearing, special instruction could help teach them and the rest of the family to communicate through sign language.

10. Support Groups

Support groups are great resources for your child and your family to get support and cope through any difficult situations you may find yourself in. The learning and growth process can be full of ups and downs, so talking with people who are going through similar experiences can help you get new ideas, share your worries and accomplishments, and be prepared to help your child succeed.

Every type of early intervention, from cognitive to speech and motor function, is supported through active play. No matter what kind of delay your child might be facing, About Play can help support their development with play and activities that help them learn and grow. Learn more about us by calling our team or contacting us online.

If you live in South Carolina and think your infant or child is experiencing developmental delays, we can help.

where do we offer early intervention services?

Our services are available for babies, toddlers, and their families in almost every county in South Carolina.

Click on your county to see the early interventionists available.