What is Early Intervention?

Early intervention is a collection of services a family may need for their infant or toddler ages birth to three who has a developmental delay. These services are designed to meet the developmental needs of each eligible child and the needs of their family related to enhancing the child's development. Learn more at Washington State's Department of Early Learning.

What services are available at Children's Therapy Center?

We offer comprehensive early intervention services to meet the individual needs of each child and family. We offer specialized early education and physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology that enhance a child's individual capabilities and foster independence. Every family is paired with a Family Resources Coordinator (FRC) who can help find and coordinate services and provide ongoing support and resources as needed.

Do you provide services in my area?

We serve eligible families who live in South King and Pierce Counties, including areas within the following school districts: Kent, Renton, Tukwila, Highline, Federal Way, Auburn, Tahoma, Enumclaw and Issaquah. Please contact our intake coordinator at 253-854-5660 to see if your family resides within our service area.

How do I get started?

Anyone can refer a child to our program. If you have questions or concerns about your child's development, we recommend that you talk with your health care provider. However, you do not need a doctor referral to initiate Early Intervention services. You can call our intake coordinator at 253-854-5660 to schedule a developmental evaluation to see if your child is eligible for early intervention services.

What is a developmental evaluation?

A full developmental evaluation is the first step to find out if your child is eligible for Early Intervention services. This takes place in an informal setting with you, your child, and a team of early intervention professionals. We will observe how your child plays, communicates and interacts with others. The evaluation looks at the following areas of development: cognitive, communication, social/emotional, physical, and self-help/adaptive. Evaluations for Early Intervention eligibility are at no cost to the family.

How do I know if my child qualifies for Early Intervention?

A child who shows a 25% delay in at least one area of development is eligible for early intervention services in Washington State. A child may also be eligible if he or she has a diagnosed disability that is known to cause a delay in development.  Eligibility is determined and discussed with your family at the evaluation session. 

If my child qualifies, what are the next steps?

Every family is paired with a Family Resources Coordinator (FRC) and a service provider(s) from our Early Intervention team that includes pediatric trained speech-language pathologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and early childhood special educators. This team will meet with your family to develop an Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) to address the concerns, hopes, and dreams you have for your child. Parents participate with the team in making decisions regarding individualized services and goals for your child, as well as frequency of services.

What is an IFSP?

An Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) is a written plan that is developed by your family, the Family Resources Coordinator (FRC), and other early intervention specialists on your team. The IFSP is the family's guiding document to address your priorities, concerns, and hopes. Within the IFSP, the team creates developmentally appropriate goals for your child and addresses your family needs. IFSP goals are incorporated into the early education program, individual therapy sessions, and daily home life. The IFSP meeting will take place within 45 days after your child has been referred and will be reviewed regularly to make sure that your child is progressing toward the goals, making adjustments as needed.

What do services look like?

Along with high-quality individualized therapy and education services, our providers coach families and caregivers on how to recognize learning opportunities which occur during typical family routines. We believe that early intervention has the greatest impact on the child if the focus of the service is on providing parents/caregivers the competence and confidence they need to help their child. Therefore, our services are family-centered, developmentally supportive and promote the child's participation in their natural environments.

Where do services take place?

In order to meet the requirements of the Federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Part C, and in support of evidence-based, best practice research around services in natural environments, our services are provided in each child's natural environment. These include a child’s home, daycare, and other community settings in which the child lives and plays.

"Natural environments" is the term used in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Part C (IDEA, 2004) to refer to settings that are typical for infants and toddlers without disabilities or delays. It is used as a contrast to more traditional treatment settings – such as clinical or medical-based programs – and includes families' homes, early care and education programs, and other community settings where families spend the most time with their children. The intent of the natural environment requirements of IDEA, Part C is to help families, as they support and encourage the development of their child.

For more information, please see:

 Guidelines for Implementing Early Intervention Services in Natural Environments (Washington State DSHS October 2001)

A Family’s Guide to Early Intervention Services in Washington State (WA State Department of Early Learning) – English

Una Guía de Servicios de Intervención Temprana para la familia en el Estado de Washington (WA State Department of Early Learning) – Spanish

Professional Position Statements on Early Intervention Service and Natural Environments. (The Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center)

Who pays for Early Intervention services?

Early Intervention is funded through government and school district contracts. We are required to bill Medicaid and family insurance, and to collect co-pays, co-insurance, and deductibles. Once insurance benefits are maximized for the year, services are provided at no cost to your family until your benefits are renewed. We make every effort to assure that services are available and affordable to all, regardless of a family's ability to pay.

What happens when my child turns three?

Your Family Resources Coordinator (FRC) and early intervention team will assist you in planning a transition from Early Intervention services to the next agency or school district serving your child. Your transition plan will identify special education or community-based services that your child may need. Your local school district will determine if your child is eligible for preschool special education services, for which your early intervention team will provide testing results and progress reports in their specific education/therapy disciplines. 

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