Identifying Children who Need Early Intervention or Special Ed Services

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Mother with young daughter and pediatrician.In December 2015, The American Academy of Pediatrics has published a Report that highlighted the role pediatricians have in identifying children who need early intervention (EI) or special education services.

“The pediatric health care provider has a critical role in supporting the health and well-being of children and adolescents in all settings, including early intervention (EI), preschool, and school environments.”

“It is estimated that 15% of children in the United States have a disability.”

“The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act entitles every affected child in the United States from infancy to young adulthood to a free appropriate public education through EI and special education services.”

“These services bolster development and learning of children with various disabilities. This clinical report provides the pediatric health care provider with a summary of key components of the most recent version of this law.”

“Guidance is also provided to ensure that every child in need receives the EI and special education services to which he or she is entitled.”

“Children with disabilities, currently estimated as 15% of US children, have been entitled to a free appropriate public education (FAPE) since 1975 when the US Congress mandated public special educational services for those with special needs through the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, later renamed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

“Developmental surveillance and screening performed in the medical home by the primary care provider often lead to the identification of children with disabilities who require further evaluation to determine the need for appropriate early intervention (EI) or special education services.”

The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for Children With Special Educational Needs, by Paul H. Lipkin, Jeffrey Okamoto, the COUNCIL ON CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES and COUNCIL ON SCHOOL HEALTH

Published in Pediatrics: Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, December 2015, VOLUME 136 / ISSUE 6

Download Report in PDF format

Have you visited the main Wrighslaw website for more answers to questions about Early Intervention?

  • What is early intervention?
  • What does it include?
  • Does my child qualify?
  • What should I do if I am not happy with evaluations, programs or services?
  • What is Part C?
  • Is it the same as Part B but for younger children?
  • Is an IFSP different from an IEP?

On our main site will find information, articles, and resources, as well as a link to this Report, on the Early Intervention (Part C) page at

  1. I like that you talked about giving proper guidance to support the needs of kids who need special education. I hope that there are early learning facilities here in the Eastern Suburbs that provide or use that kind of curriculum. It will be a huge help for my sister once her son gets diagnosed or has signs of those conditions, because he still hasn’t spoken an actual word at the age of three.

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