Early Intervention Program

Program Goal

To enhance the development of infants and toddlers with disabilities and developmental delays, and to assist families in meeting their children's special needs.


  • Children under 3 years of age who live in New York State, and
  • Have a confirmed disability or established developmental delay.

A confirmed disability means that the child has been diagnosed with a physical or mental condition (such as Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, vision or hearing impairment) that has a high chance of resulting in a delay.

"Developmental delay" means that the child is behind in at least one area of development including physical, cognitive, communication, social-emotional, and adaptive development.

A child can be referred to the Early Intervention Program by various health professionals or by his/her parent(s). All children referred with a suspected disability are entitled to receive a multidisciplinary evaluation to determine their eligibility for early intervention services. Children with a diagnosed condition will still need an evaluation to help plan early intervention services.


Once eligibility is determined, a meeting takes place to develop an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). The IFSP is a written document that describes the early intervention services that will be provided to the child and family. IFSP meeting participants include the child's parents, the service coordinator, the county early intervention official, a representative of the team that evaluated the child, and anyone else requested by the parents.

Early Intervention services available to eligible children and their families include:

  • Service coordination.
  • Family training, family counseling.
  • Family/parent support groups.
  • Speech pathology and audiology.
  • Vision services.
  • Physical therapy.
  • Occupational therapy.
  • Nutrition services.
  • Nursing services.
  • Psychological services.
  • Social work services.
  • Special instruction.
  • Transportation.
  • Assistive technology devices and services.

These services are determined on an individual basis, and there are no out-of-pocket costs to families. Third party payment, including private insurance and Medicaid, is used when available.

For More Information

Call the New York State Health Department's Growing Up Healthy Hotline at 1-800-522-5006 (in New York City call 311); or contact your county health department in the government blue pages of the phone book.

You can also visit the Early Intervention Program's website at: www.health.ny.gov/community/infants_children/early_intervention/.

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Publication 0548
Revised 10/2013