Early Intervention

Early Intervention Services are for developmentally delayed children up to age three and provides therapies free of charge to the families of the children who need them.

Early Intervention is a program administrated by the Dept. of Health of New York State.  It is for developmentally delayed children up to age three and provides therapies free of charge to the families of the children who need them. The website is at http://www.health.state.ny.us/community/infants_children/early_intervention/

You can enter the program by calling the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene:

93 Worth Street, Suite 303
New York, New York 10013
Main number is 347-396-6974. The Brooklyn number is 718-722-3310

Once you have contacted EI you will be referred to a service provider. The service provider will arrange dates and times to perform evaluations of your child.

The evaluators can come to your home or you can have the evaluations performed at a center.  They will probably send a speech pathologist, a SEIT (special instructor, this is for play skills), a social worker, and perhaps an occupational therapist or physical therapist.  These all depend on the kinds of delays you report for your child.

They will meet with you and your child and gauge his skill levels. They will write a report for your service provider and make recommendations for the kinds of therapy they feel he needs and the frequency of therapies.

You will then have a meeting with your service coordinator (person assigned to your case by your service provider) and a city official who will approve your child to receive services.  This approval comes in the form of an IFSP (Individual Family Service Plan).  Children who have immediate needs can also be approved for an "Interim IFSP" (Interim Individual Family Service Plan), which allows the child to begin receiving therapies as soon as the evaluations are performed -- you do not need to wait for the results to be processed by the Early Intervention program.

Usually your service coordinator will then have any appropriate therapists who work with the agency contact you to meet your child and set up a therapeutic schedule. The therapists often come to your home, although they can also go to a center if the child is in some type of center-based day care.

The EI program is really of great benefit to children. Parents have the right to challenge any determinations made by EI or by therapists and you can refuse services at any time. You are also allowed to change your therapists at any time, switch to new therapists in the program, and even switch your coordinator.

Everything is confidential; nothing goes on your child's "permanent record."  It is also totally free.