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Early Childhood Intervention (ECI)


Children grow and develop rapidly during their first three years of life. Although each child is unique and grows and learns at his or her own pace, some children need extra help. This extra help is called Early Childhood Intervention.

Research shows that growth and development are most rapid in the first three years of life. The earlier a delay is identified, and a child receives intervention, the better the outcome for that child.

Because parents spend so much time with their children, they often are the first to identify a concern about development if there are concerns or questions about how a child is growing or learning.

If you would like to refer your child to ECI, call (915) 534-4ECI or click here.

What is Early Childhood Intervention?

Early Childhood Intervention or ECI is a statewide program for families with children, birth to three, with developmental delays or disabilities. ECI is state and federally funded through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, P.L. 108-446). Families and professionals work as a team to plan appropriate services based on the unique needs of the child and family.

Who is Eligible for ECI Services?

Children under three years old are eligible if they have a developmental delay in one of the following areas: learning, movement, ability to talk, ability to understand and get along with others. Children are also eligible if they are determined to have atypical development, such as abnormalities in behavior. Medically diagnosed conditions that are known to lead to developmental delay such as cerebral palsy, seizures, Down Syndrome, etc. also qualify a child for services.

What services does ECI provide?

Services may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Developmental Screenings and Evaluations

  • Physical, Occupational &  Speech Therapy

  • Specialized Skills Training

  • Case Management

  • Nutrition Services

  • Vision Services

  • Assistive Technology

  • Audiology Services

  • Family Education & Support Services


Services are provided in the child’s natural environment (home, daycare, community center, etc.) and are also provided using telecommunications technology which is referred to as “Telehealth”.

Where are the services provided?

Services are provided in the child’s “natural environment” where they live, learn, and play. This may be accomplished in the home, daycare, or community setting where your child feels most comfortable. In this way, your child’s intervention will help him participate in everyday activities.

Developmental Milestones

Babies and toddlers grow and develop very rapidly in the early years of life. The changes babies and toddlers go through as they grow are made up of different skills like walking and talking. These skills, or developmental milestones, usually happen by certain ages. Parents and family members help their children learn these skills by playing with them and through daily activities. Because parents spend so much time with their children, they often are the first to identify a concern about development. If there are concerns or questions about how a child is growing or learning, consult with the child’s doctor or call the DARS Inquiries Line at 1-800-628-5115 for more information or referral to an ECI program in your area. ECI professionals are experts in child development. ECI supports families and helps them meet their children’s needs. The earlier children with developmental delays or special needs receive help, the better.

For more information, visit our local ECI Website at