Early Childhood Intervention Services (ECIS) support children with a disability or developmental delay from birth to school entry and their families. ECIS provides special education, therapy, counselling, service planning and coordination, assistance and support to access services such as kindergarten and child care.

Services are tailored to meet the individual needs of the child and focused on supporting the child in their natural environments and in their everyday experiences and activities.

The overall aim of these services is to provide parents and families with the knowledge, skills and support to meet the needs of their child and to optimise the child’s development and ability to participate in family and community life. All services are provided using a family-centred approach, recognising the importance of working in partnership with the family.

Why Provide Services?

Typically, children who participate in early intervention experience significant improvement in development and learning. Children with developmental delays or conditions likely to cause delays benefit greatly from First Step services during critical developmental years. .

Early intervention focuses on helping eligible babies and toddlers learn the basic and brand-new skills that typically develop during the first three years of life, such as:

  • physical (reaching, rolling, crawling, and walking);
  • cognitive (thinking, learning, solving problems);
  • communication (talking, listening, understanding);
  • social/emotional (playing, feeling secure and happy); and
  • self-help (eating, dressing).

Examples of early intervention services: If an infant or toddler has a disability or a developmental delay in one or more of these developmental areas, that child will likely be eligible for early intervention services. Those services will be tailored to meet the child’s individual needs and may include:

  • Audiology or hearing services
  • Speech and language services
  • Counseling and training for a family
  • Occupational therapy
  • Sensory Integration Therapy
  • Psychological services

Services may also be provided to address the needs and priorities of the child’s family. Family-directed services are meant to help family members understand the special needs of their child and how to enhance his or her development.