Early Intervention – Birth-Age 2
Early Intervention services are provided for infants and toddlers with a disability. "Infant and toddler with a disability" means a child who is eligible to receive services in the federal IDEA Part C early intervention system up to age three who:
- Has delayed functioning;
- Manifests atypical development or behavior;
- Has behavioral disorders that interfere with acquisition of developmental skills; or
- Has a diagnosed physical or mental condition that has a high probability of resulting in delay, even though no current delay exists.
In Virginia, the Infant and Toddler Connection program provides supports and services for children and families through the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.
Early intervention focuses on increasing the child's participation in family and community activities that are important to the family. In addition, supports and services focus on helping parents and other caregivers know how to find ways to help the child learn during everyday activities. These supports and services are available for all eligible children and their families regardless of the family's ability to pay.
The purpose of the Infant and Toddler Connection is to enable:
- Young children to be active and successful participants during the early childhood years and in the future in a variety of settings – in their homes with their families; in child care, preschool or school programs; and in the community.
- Families to provide care for their child and have the resources they need to participate in their own desired family and community activities.
The key principles of the Infant and Toddler Connection program include:
- Infants and toddlers learn best through everyday experiences and interactions with familiar people in familiar contexts.
- All families, with the necessary supports and resources, can enhance their children’s learning and development.
- The primary role of a service provider in early intervention is to work with and support family members and caregivers in children’s lives.
- The early intervention process, from initial contacts through transition, must be dynamic and individualized to reflect the child’s and family members’ preferences, learning styles and cultural beliefs.
- Outcomes must be functional and based on children’s and families’ needs and family-identified priorities.
- The family’s priorities, needs and interests are addressed most appropriately by a primary provider who represents and receives team and community support.
- Interventions with young children and family members must be based on explicit principles, validated practices, best available research and relevant laws and regulations.