From birth to age 5 years, children should reach milestones in how they play, learn, speak, and act. Each child grows and changes at their own rate, but some children have delays in their development. Eligibility for Early Intervention is based on delays in reaching these milestones. Therapies and other supports can help the child reach their individual potential. All Early Intervention services are provided at no charge to the family. The 5 major growth areas are:
Physical development - ability to move, see, and hear
Speech & language development - ability to talk and express needs
Social and emotional development - ability to relate to others
Adaptive development - ability to eat, dress, and take care of oneself
Cognitive development - ability to think and learn
Children age birth to 3 are eligible for services if they have:
25% delay in one or more area of development;
a specialist’s determination that there is a delay not measured by available assessments, and the delay results in functional limitations of the child’s daily activity;
known physical or mental conditions which have a high probability for eligible developmental delays.
Children not eligible for may qualify for follow-up tracking. Children eligible for tracking are:
birth weight under 1500 grams (about 3½ pounds);
cared for in neonatal intensive care units, or born to chemically dependent mothers;
seriously abused or neglected (substantiated);
confirmed to have dangerous levels of lead poisoning.
For children under age 3, the county Early Intervention Unit is the first place to contact for information. Hospitals, physicians, specialists, caregivers, and families may contact the program at 610-344-5948, located at the Chester County Government Services Center.