What is Early Intervention?

Early intervention is a system of services that helps babies and toddlers with developmental delays or disabilities. Early intervention focuses on helping eligible babies and toddlers learn the basic and brand-new skills that typically develop during the first three years of life, such as:

  • physical (reaching, rolling, crawling, and walking);
  • cognitive (thinking, learning, solving problems);
  • communication (talking, listening, understanding);
  • social/emotional (playing, feeling secure and happy); and
  • self-help (eating, dressing).

Examples of early intervention services

If an infant or toddler has a disability or a developmental delay in one or more of these developmental areas, that child will likely be eligible for early intervention services. Those services will be tailored to meet the child’s individual needs and may include:

  • Assistive technology (devices a child might need)
  • Audiology or hearing services
  • Speech and language services
  • Counseling and training for a family
  • Medical services
  • Nursing services
  • Nutrition services
  • Occupational therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Psychological services

What Agency is Responsible for Early Intervention in Delaware?

In Delaware, the Birth to Three Early Intervention Program (Birth to Three), a component of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) is the “Lead Agency” (State office responsible for general supervision of the early intervention system). Birth to Three, provides services coordination early intervention services. Eligible infants and toddlers with disabilities, aged birth to three, have the right to receive early intervention supports and services.  Families of these children also have the right to receive early intervention supports and services so that the parents can assist in their child’s development.

Birth to Three Early Intervention Program provides:

  • assessments
  • service coordination
  • Individualized Family Service Plans
  • Referrals to community services

Birth to Three Early Intervention Program, helps families answer the question, “Is my child developing and learning like other children?” He or she may be growing and changing, yet may have difficulty hearing, seeing, talking, moving, or learning the way other children do. This is called a developmental delay. Here is a list describing what children of your child’s age can do: https://dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/chs/chscdw.html

If you suspect your child may be experiencing developmental delays, and would like to get more information about the Birth to Three Early Intervention Program or about requesting an assessment, contact:

New Castle County: 302-283-7240 OR 1-800-671-0050

Kent/Sussex Counties: 302-424-7300 OR 1-800-752-9393

Additional Resources:

  • Delaware Birth to Three Early Intervention System
  • Delaware Office of Early Learning – Resources for children birth through age 8



IFSP for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities

Transition at Age 3 for Toddlers with Disabilities

Additional Resources for Families:


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