Early Intervention (EI)


EI is for children birth to 3 years old

Early Intervention (EI) is a program in Illinois for children ages birth to three who have delays in development. EI supports and teaches families how to play with their children in ways that will help them learn necessary skills across areas of development. This federally-mandated program is run by Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS), and additional information can be found at: http://www.dhs.state.il.us.

How do I start EI

A free developmental screening may be a first step in the referral to Child and Family Connections (CFC). A list of Lake County Developmental Screening Sites may be obtained at: http://www.lakecountyil.gov/Health/resources.

EI Evaluations

If further evaluations are recommended, a referral to CFC will be made. The family will also be contacted by an intake coordinator or service coordinator to begin the process for evaluations to determine a child’s eligibility for EI services. CFC #2 in Lake County can be contacted at Lake County Health Department: http://www.lakecountyil.gov or (847) 377-8931. CFC #25 in McHenry County can be contacted at Options & Advocacy for McHenry County: http://www.optionsandadvocacy.org/ or (815) 477-4720.  Families may request a credentialed evaluator and/or ongoing provider from Pediatric Interactions as part of the team. Please direct questions or referrals to Sarah Rosten, Clinical Director at (847) 223-7433 ext. 105. 

A child is eligible for services if found to have a significant delay (30% or more) in one or more of the following developmental areas: Physical: motor, Cognitive: learning, Communication: interaction, Social/Emotional: behavioral and/or Adaptive: use of existing skills. Additional eligibility requirements can include receipt of a medical diagnosis and/or being at risk of significant delay due to specific criteria.

EI Therapy

If a child is found to be eligible for EI services, an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) may be developed. This document outlines a child’s areas of strengths and needs, outcomes, strategies and recommended services. Developmental services include: assistive technology devices, early identification and assessment, family training, counseling and home visits, health services necessary to enable the infant or toddler to benefit from other EI services, medical (only for diagnostic or evaluation purposes), nursing, nutrition, occupational therapy, physical therapy, psychological services, service coordination, social work, special instruction/developmental therapy, speech language pathology and audiology, transportation and related costs and vision. Intervention is determined based on goals that are family-centered, functional and measurable. Services are provided within the child’s natural environment and built around the family routines, with written home activity programs to encourage family participation in therapeutic activities on a daily basis.

What happens when my child turns 3

At the age of three years, a child exits the EI system. The child’s service coordinator and parent liaison assist the family in additional testing within the local education system. In addition, a child’s family may also seek additional community-based services to support his/her needs and development, as needed, including preschools and play groups, park district programs and private therapy.  For more information regarding this process, check out our article regarding "What do I do when my child turns three?". Understanding the IEP process can be challenging. Pediatric Interactions has resources to help you navigate this new system.