Early Intervention: An Overview

Michelle Morgado, MA, CCC-SLP | Speech-Language Pathologist
May 20, 2024

Early intervention is a term used to describe therapeutic services for children from birth to age three.  For infants and toddlers not meeting developmental milestones, early intervention services are critical for their future success and to support their families.

What is early intervention?

Early intervention is a term used to refer to services given to young children with special needs from the ages of birth to three years.  Services could include speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, or behavior therapy and can be provided either in an office or in the child’s home.

More specifically, early intervention services are designed to meet children’s needs in five different areas, including physical development, cognitive development, communication, social or emotional development, or adaptive development.

How do I know if my child needs early intervention services?

If you have concerns that your child is not developing as quickly as other children in the areas mentioned above, speak with your child’s pediatrician.  He or she will provide contact information for the agency responsible for assessing early development through the Regional Centers of California.

First, your child will have to be evaluated to determine if he or she qualifies to receive early intervention services.  The evaluation will be free for you and might include a number of professionals, such as speech therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, vision or hearing consultants, developmental specialists, or psychologists.

Why pursue services so young?

A child is most ready to learn skills between the ages of birth to three.  It is the most crucial stage in a child’s development.  The timing of intervention is important because a child runs the risk of missing an opportunity to learn at a state of maximum readiness.  If this stage of readiness is not taken advantage of, the child may have difficulty learning a certain skill at a later time.

The family of a child with a developmental delay also benefits greatly from early intervention services.  There are opportunities for them to receive education on their child’s development.  Parents spend the most time with their child, so it is important for them to receive education and support.  The hope is that if these services are provided early enough in a child’s life to address delays in development, then services won’t be needed later on.

Don’t hesitate!  If you have any concerns, get the early intervention process started!  Contact us today to set up an appointment with one of our speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, or behavior therapists.



Early Intervention.  Retrieved from

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