Early Language Intervention
What is Early Intervention (EI)?
All children grow and develop at their own rate. Although some children walk and talk early, others may be delayed in learning certain skills. If you have any concerns about your child’s development, the earlier you seek help, the better, which is why Early Intervention is important. Early Intervention is different for each child and family depending on the child’s needs and the family’s priorities. The most important step is to start early.
Who is Early Intervention designed for?
Early intervention is for children ages birth to 3 and their families. Early intervention is also available in every state, including California under federal law. Families and professionals, including audiologists and speech-language pathologists, are part of an early intervention team. They help children develop skills such as:
Cognitive skills (thinking, learning, problem-solving);
Communication skills (gesturing, talking, listening, understanding);
Physical and sensory skills (crawling, walking, climbing, seeing, hearing);
Social–emotional skills (playing, understanding feelings, making friends); and
Adaptive or self-help skills (eating, bathing, dressing).
How can I get Early Intervention services for my child?
If you are concerned about your child’s development, you may contact your local early intervention program directly to ask for an evaluation. In San Diego County, you can contact the San Diego Regional Center (https://www.sdrc.org/) . Families do not have to wait for a referral from professionals.
Health care providers, child care staff, teachers, and social service workers are other people who can refer an infant or toddler for early intervention as well.
How can I find more Information about Early Intervention Providers in my area?
You can find your community’s early intervention office by:
Asking your child’s pediatrician, child care provider, or teacher for a referral;
Calling your state department of health or education;
Reaching out to the Parent Training and Information Center in your state;
Contacting the pediatrics department of a local hospital; or
Visiting the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center’s state-by-state contacts page
What Happens After My Child Is Referred for Early Intervention?
After your child is referred to your local early intervention program, a service coordinator will meet with you and your child to gather information and explain next steps. They will evaluate your child’s skills to see if your child and family are eligible for services. They will ask you for written consent before they begin.
If your child is eligible for services, a more in-depth assessment (i.e., tests, observations, interviews) will be completed. This assessment determines how early intervention can help your child and family.
Next, the early intervention team writes an Individualized Family Service Plan. This plan includes goals, services, and support for your child and family. You are part of the team, and you help decide what is included in the plan.
Early intervention services must be in the language(s) your child and your family use. If necessary, an interpreter will work with you and the early intervention providers.
Bonita Speech Services is an authorized vendor for Early Intervention services through San Diego Regional Center.
What If My Child Is Not Eligible for Early Intervention Services?
If your child does not qualify for services, but you feel they still need help, let the team know right away. You can request another evaluation at that time or in the future. You can also seek services outside of the early intervention program. These services are usually billed to you or your insurance. At Bonita Speech Services, we accept these important referrals. Currently, we are self pay private practice only however, we can provide you with a Superbill. Depending on your insurance benefits, your insurance might be able to reimburse you the cost of therapy when provided with the Superbill. We advise you to verify and check with your insurance to ensure they will reimburse you when provided with the Superbill.
I am concerned with my child’s speech and language development but my child is already 3 years old. What can I do?
If your child is already 3, you can still get help through private practice services or your local school district. Each school district has a program called Child Find that can help. A lot happens in the first few years of life. For children who are not where they need to be with development, getting help early can make a big difference.
At Bonita Speech Services, we understand the importance of early intervention and we welcome these referrals! Speech and language skills are important foundational skills for reading and writing later on in life! If your child continues to struggle with speech and/or language development with no help, it is very likely they might struggle with reading and writing skills once they start school.