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Scheduling an early intervention evaluation

Early Intervention Evaluation: How to request one

Updated: May 4, 2024 · 2 Minute Read

Marissa Pittard

Reviewed by:

Marissa Pittard


  • Early intervention evaluations are a free service provided by your state
  • EI evaluations help identify children with disabilities and developmental delays early on
  • If your child qualifies for EI services, they can get needed therapies and interventions for free

If you have concerns about your child's development, a great first step is scheduling an early intervention evaluation.


What's Early Intervention (EI)?

Every state has an early intervention (EI) program to support kids with developmental delays and disabilities. These free programs can offer a range of services, such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, and more depending on your child’s needs.


Why is EI important?

Research shows it's important to get your child support as early as possible. States offer EI programs to identify children with disabilities and get them support during crucial times in their development. This is a big help to families who many not have the finances to seek independent help, as EI services are free of charge.


How do you get early intervention services?

The first step in accessing these free services from your state is to get an evaluation. The evaluation will help the state determine what services your child qualifies for, if any. Find your state’s local EI program by clicking here.


When you contact your local center, say “I have concerns about my child’s development and I would like to have my child evaluated to find out if they are eligible for early intervention services.” They will ask screening questions and arrange for an evaluation, which is provided for free.


Tip: It’s good to keep a list of your concerns about your child’s development so you can share them with the contact person. (Example: “My child doesn’t respond to their name, hasn’t begun speaking yet, and often falls or bumps into things.”)


Keep in mind that your child may not qualify for services

This doesn't mean your child couldn't benefit from services, it just means that the state won't be providing them. States vary in what type of services they offer and which children qualify. Some states only provide services to children with high support needs.


Learn what to do after scheduling an EI evaluation, and what to expect.