Key Terms in Special Education-Early Intervention

Dispute resolution: The term for several processes available to parents when there is a dispute related to a violation under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. A dispute may be addressed using mediations, complaint procedures, due process hearing procedures, administrative appeals and civil judicial proceedings.

Early childhood transition: This process refers to children with an Individualized Family Service Plan who are found eligible to transition, by age 3, from early intervention (IDEA Part C) to early childhood special education (IDEA Part B). The evaluation and transition process begins at least six months prior to the toddler’s third birthday.

Early intervention services: Programs and services for eligible infants and toddlers with diagnosed developmental delays and disabilities (birth to age 3) and their families. These services are often provided in the settings that are natural, such as the home or community. Programs are available in every state and territory, and through the Department of Defense. An early intervention service coordinator is responsible for coordinating services delivered by providers throughout the time the child is receiving early intervention services. 

Educational and Developmental Intervention Services: The program operated by the military departments that provides early intervention services to infants and toddlers (birth to age 3) in overseas and designated domestic locations and related services for children ages 3-21 attending DoDEA schools overseas.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act: The IDEA ensures that all children with disabilities are entitled to a free and appropriate public education to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment and independent living. Part C of IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention services to eligible infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families. IDEA ensures the coordination of services for infants and toddlers with developmental delays or disabilities across agencies and systems.

Individualized Education Program: An IEP is an educational plan developed for a child with a disability who is found eligible for special education services. It is reviewed and revised in accordance with the IDEA and state guidelines and specifies the special education and related services necessary to meet the child’s needs. By age 3, an IEP must be developed for eligible toddlers transitioning from early intervention (IDEA Part C) to early childhood special education (IDEA Part B).

Individualized Family Service Plan: The IFSP guides and supports the provision of early intervention services for children with special needs ages birth to age 3. A team that includes the parents develops the IFSP which identifies child and family needs and is reviewed every six months and updated at least once a year.

Infant or toddler with a disability: A child under 3 years of age who, based on assessment or evaluation results, meets the criteria for early intervention services due to a developmental delay in one or more areas of cognitive, physical, communication, social or emotional, and adaptive development; or has a diagnosed physical or mental condition that has a high probability of resulting in developmental delay(s). 

Parents must consent to all actions related to the infant’s or toddler’s provision of services. The consent documents that parents have been fully informed, in their native language or other mode of communication such as Braille, of all the information about the action(s).