What is Early Intervention? What is FIPP’s Role?

A picture of a cute baby

Early intervention typically refers to a state’s system for providing services to eligible infants and toddlers from birth to age three with developmental delays or disabilities and their families. In North Carolina, the system is referred to as the Infant-Toddler Program. Statewide early intervention systems are provided in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Part C. Eligibility criteria are established by each state typically based either on an automatically qualifying diagnosis or condition (e.g., Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, etc.) or percent of delay in one or more developmental areas (i.e., communication, movement, self-help, social/emotional, and thinking/problem-solving). Once a child is determined eligible for the program, an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) is developed by the child’s team including a service coordinator, evaluator, service provider, and his/her family. Research shows that all young children with and without disabilities learn by being involved in their typical activities (eating, diaper changes, taking a bath, going to the grocery store, etc.) with the important people in their lives. The focus of early intervention is to support family members and other caregivers to promote the child’s learning as part of everyday activities and routines within family, community, and early childhood settings.

For more information about early intervention services, follow this link to the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center. For information about what early intervention looks like/doesn’t look like, see the Mission and Key Principles for Providing Early Intervention Services in Natural Environments. The American Academy of Pediatrics published a report in 2013 about how early intervention services should be provided and referenced some of FIPP’s work.

The Family, Infant and Preschool Program (FIPP) is a contract service provider for the North Carolina Infant-Toddler Program serving Alexander, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, and McDowell counties in North Carolina. If you live in one of these counties, your child is eligible for early intervention services, and you would like to receive state-of-the-art services from FIPP, let your service coordinator know. If your child is under the age of five and not eligible for early intervention services, but you have questions or concerns about his/her development, FIPP can still serve you.

The FIPP Developmental Services & Medical Supports team is nationally and internationally recognized as a model early intervention program using natural learning environment practices, a coaching interaction style to build the capacity of caregivers to promote child development, and a primary service provider approach to teaming. FIPP provides training and technical assistance including web-based courses, workshops, coaching, and implementation tools. Program administrators, therapists, educators, and students from around the globe come to FIPP to observe and learn how to provide research-based early intervention services.