Early Intervention (EI) and Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) are federal and state funded programs that provide specialized services to children with disabilities and their families.
EI provides individualized services for children birth through age three in natural settings, such as the family’s home, and typically include therapies for the child, as well as training and support for the parents on how to work with their child. ECSE services are educational in nature for children age three to kindergarten and take place in different settings. Examples include Head Start classrooms, child care programs and ECSE classrooms, depending on the needs of the individual child.
EI and ECSE services are always free to families. Each child enrolled in EI or ECSE services has an Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) which addresses the child’s individual needs and is developed by a team that includes parents and professionals. Local area contractors provide the EI and ECSE services described in the IFSP either directly or by subcontracting with other local programs. Referrals can be made by contacting the local EI/ECSE program in your county.