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Early Intervention Program - One way to get Speech Therapy & More

After reading about speech therapy I'd like to look into it for Sarah, who just turned 9 mos. Where do I start investigating if she's qualified to receive some? The PS mentioned a speech evaluation at about age 3, but it sounds like a lot more can and should be done before then.

Is it done through the Early Intervention Program (EIP)? If so, who do you call to get into the program? Is there a cost? I know very little about it and my PS (the only member of the cleft-team I've seen) never mentioned it. Thanks for advice from anyone who can give me info!!


Every State has an Early Intervention program, although they may be a bit different from State to State. (It is Federally mandated, but run at the State level). If you have no idea how to find them, contact your State Department of Developmental Services, or your local regional center. If all else fails, call your local school district and as them how to get in touch with Early Intervention in your area.  Good luck - the reality is, it IS a good thing.


Although it is in every state, it may be under a different name. Our program is called "Sooner Start".

EIP is designed for infants and toddlers up to age 3 years. It is intended to serve those with developmental delays and depending on your state, there are different qualifications (evaluations are done for emotional, learning and communication problems, etc.)

It may be a joint effort of various State organizations: Dept. of Education, Human Services, Mental Health, Dept. of Health, etc.

Things they may offer:

Diagnostic & evaluation services
Case management
Family training, counseling and home visits
Nutrition services
Occupational, physical and speech-language therapy
Special Instruction

Costs: There is no direct cost to families for early intervention services, regardless of the family's income. These services are mandated by federal and state law and are publicly funded.

It usually starts with a referral to the Regional Coordinator who will assign a Resource Coordinator to work with your family.

There will be an evaluation done by several team members and they will assist the family in coordinating an Individualized Family Service Plan. This entails receiving input from the family as to the child's development and progress. The IFSP is designed to identify your needs and plan how to meet those needs.


Yes, speech therapy is available through early childhood intervention programs and here in Texas it's free to everyone. James gets it through our school district, but other EI programs are run through the state of Texas. So I guess it all depends on where you live. I'd give your school district a call, as well as your State Health Department.

After we found out where to call, we made an appt. A speech therapist, an occupational therapist and a teacher came out to our house, and did an evaluation with James. At the time, he was about a 11 months old. (Before this, he got speech therapy through the children's hosp. where his cleft was repaired).

Although they didn't find any speech delays at the time (he was kinda young to really tell), they classified him as "at risk", since he was born with cleft, so we could still be included in the program. And now they come over about once a month, and really just play and interact with him, give us different strategies to encourage speech, and different tongue and palate exercises to do. James really likes it, as he gets to play and show off for someone besides his mom!

Just thought I'd add one more thing:

I got my newsletter today from the Early Childhood Intervention people here in Texas, and they listed a phone number where you can call to get information on OTHER states' programs, as well as Texas.

It's 1-800-250-2246. (ECI Care Line)

Also, they gave a web address. It's:

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