Key Terms in Special Education-Early Intervention

Developmental Delay:  A child who is slow to meet or not reaching milestones in one or more of the areas of development (cognition, physical, communication, social or emotional, and adaptive development; or has a diagnosed physical or mental condition) in the manner most children might for same age peers. 

Dispute Resolution: One of several processes, such as, mediations, complaint procedures, due process hearing procedures, administrative appeals, and civil judicial proceedings available to parents when there is a dispute related to a violation under Part C of IDEA.

Early Childhood Transition:  This process refers to children with an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) who are eligible to transition, by age three, from Early Intervention (IDEA Part C) to Early Childhood Special Education (IDEA Part B) with an IEP.  The process begins at least six months prior to the toddler’s third birthday.

Early Intervention Program/Services:  The early Intervention program and services for infants and toddlers provide a broad array of services and supports to children with developmental delays and disabilities, birth through 35 months of age, 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.   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 (EDIS):  This is the title of the programs operated by the Military Services that provide early intervention services to infants and toddlers (birth through 35 months) in overseas and designated domestic locations and related services for children ages 3-21 located in Department of Defense schools overseas.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004):  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 (IEP):  An IEP is a plan developed for a child with a disability.  It is reviewed, and revised in accordance with the IDEA and specifies the special education and related services necessary to meet the child’s needs.  By age three, 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 (IFSP):  The IFSP guides and supports the provision of early intervention services for children with special needs ages birth through 35 months.  A team, that includes the parents, develops the IFSP which identifies family based needs and is reviewed every six months and updated at least once a year.

Infant or toddler with a disability:  A child under three 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).