What types of professionals provide services for Early Intervention?
The certified special education teacher assesses your child’s functional
abilities and learning style. The curriculum outlines developmental sequences
and suggests activities to teach task oriented skills. Individualized
goals address both child and family needs.
The speech-language pathologist helps your child with oral-motor/feeding
skills, and receptive and expressive language abilities. The development
of oral-motor/feedings skills is necessary to promote active movements
of the lips, tongue and jaw. Receptive language refers to the understanding
of language while expressive language refers to the use of sign language
or speech. In addition, the speech-language pathologist may explore new
ways to stimulate cognitive/linguistic growth. (There is a link at the
end of this piece to a source for reviewing your children’s developmental
(speech) milestones that will be helpful in learning more about age and
and Physical Therapist
The occupational and/or physical therapist addresses the child’s
neuro-musculo-skeletal development (such as sitting, standing, grasping
objects, walking). Their goal is to build endurance for the child and
to help normalize body tone and body movement. Therapists strive to educate
parents or caregivers, and work with other team members on how to modify
treatment or positioning, according to the child’s needs or technical
The social worker provides information and emotional support for family
members. At times the social worker helps to coordinate communication
between parents and staff. In addition, the social worker can help a family
access community resources and empower them to advocate for outside services
including respite, psychotherapy, and financial entitlements.
The psychologist provides psychological and emotional support to children
with special needs and their families. A psychologist helps parents to
encourage age-appropriate and socially appropriate behaviors, acts as
a resource for other team members, and evaluates the developmental strengths
and needs of the children enrolled in the program.
The nutritionist conducts individual assessments in nutritional history
and dietary intake. The nutritionist also develops and monitors appropriate
plans to address the nutritional needs of children.
At your child’s IFSP meeting, you may have selected (or your state
assigned) an ongoing service coordinator. You may have chosen to remain
with the initial service coordinator assigned to you by the Department
of Health or you may have selected one of several individuals available
to serve an ongoing service coordinator from a local agency. The person
you selected is responsible for assisting you in all aspects of planning
and coordinating your child’s services, implementing IFSP goals,
making changes in your child’s IFSP, if necessary, and assisting
with transition plans.
Learn more about developmental milestones.
See the NICHCY Effective Practices in Early Intervention for additional information on what to look for.
page from the Council
for Exceptional Children website offers information about EI professionals.
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Copyright 2005 Updated 11/9/09