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The Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities Program (Part C) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was created in 1986 to enhance the development of infants and toddlers with disabilities, minimize potential developmental delay, and reduce educational costs to our society by minimizing the need for special education services as children with disabilities reach school age. Part C provides early intervention (EI) services to infants and toddlers aged birth to three with developmental delays or a medical condition likely to lead to a developmental delay. Part C is not intended to be a stand-alone program. The intent is to build inter-agency partnerships among state agencies and programs in health, education, human services and developmental disabilities.
Decades of rigorous research show that children’s earliest experiences play a critical role in brain development. The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University has summarized this research:
Positive early experiences are essential prerequisites for later success in school, the workplace, and the community. Services to young children who have or are at risk for developmental delays have been shown to positively impact outcomes across developmental domains, including health, language and communication, cognitive development, and social/emotional development. Families benefit from early intervention by being able to better meet their children’s special needs from an early age and throughout their lives. Benefits to society include reducing economic burden through a decreased need for special education.
There is a high need for good quality Part C early intervention programs.
IDEA requires referral to Part C for any child under the age of 3 who is identified as affected by illegal substance abuse, or is involved in a substantiated case of child abuse or neglect.
This resource created by The National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center