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Early Intervention

The Early Intervention program in Illinois is a collection of services for children age birth to three who have delays in development or a medical diagnosis that typically results in development delays. EI provides families with strategies to help children learn essential skills, improves developmental and educational growth, and supports children with developmental delays in becoming more independent.  The Early Intervention program in Illinois is called Child and Family Connections.

Early intervention services include, but are not limited to:  developmental screenings and evaluations, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language therapy, nutrition services, psychological services and social work services.

Understanding the IL Early Childhood System 


Children eligible for early intervention services must be experiencing developmental delays in one or more of the following areas:  cognitive development; physical development, including vision and hearing; language and speech development; psycho-social development; and self-help skills.  Children may also be eligible due to diagnosed physical or mental conditions, such as cerebral palsy or Down syndrome, or certain family circumstances that put them at risk of having substantial delays.

Individualized Family Service Plans (IFSPs) are developed for eligible children and their families.  The plan outlines the services and supports the family chooses to receive the meet the individual needs of their child.  Service coordinators help families obtain the services identified in the IFSP.

Refer a Child

A child can be referred to Child and Family Connections of Central Illinois Offices through parents, family members, physicians, regional diagnostic centers, hospitals, health departments, local screenings, or by anyone who is concerned about a child’s development.  Evaluations to determine eligibility are provided at no cost to the family.

Remember that every child is unique.  Most of the time differences between children of the same age are not uncommon, but for some, the difference may require further assessment.  If you have questions about your child’s development, contact your medical professional or Child and Family Connections.

Early Intervention Resources for Families

The Illinois Early Intervention Program: A Guide for Families – Illinois Early Intervention Clearinghouse

The Guide

This guidebook introduces families to early intervention, providing information on the early intervention vision and principles, a flow chart that explains the process of early intervention, and definitions with their corresponding acronyms when applicable.

Family Rights Handbook

The Family Rights Handbook includes information on parental consent, prior notice, examination of records, confidentiality, complaints, and surrogate parents.

This is a guidebook that introduces families to early intervention. Among the contents of this book you will find information on the early intervention vision, early intervention principles, a flow chart that explains the process of early intervention,  and definitions with their corresponding acronyms when applicable.

Family Rights Handbook

Frequently Asked Questions about Live Video Visits (i.e., teletherapy) for families of children receiving early intervention (EI) during COVID-19

Because of COVID-19, the Illinois Early Intervention (EI) program is offering to provide EI through live video visits (also known as teletherapy or telehealth).  Below are some frequently asked questions and answers for families who are considering live video visits for EI.  It is not mandatory that you receive EI services through live video visits; the choice is entirely yours.  If you are a family with an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) or your child has been determined eligible for EI services, then you are eligible for live video visits.

EI FAQ’s for Families About Live Video Visits