Early intervention eligibility

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Is my child eligible for early intervention services?


The Family Health Hotline is a good place to start to find out whether your child is eligible for early intervention services. Call 1.800.322.2588 (TTY 1.800.833.6384) to be connected with a family resources coordinator in your area. The FRC will help you access early intervention services your child may need.


Who is eligible for early intervention services in Washington?


To be eligible, a child must have a 25 percent delay or show a 1.5 standard deviation below his or her age in one or more of the developmental areas. A child may also be eligible if he or she has a physical or mental condition such as Down Syndrome that is known to cause a delay in development.


Detailed eligibility criteria:


  1. Developmental Delay: A child is eligible if he or she demonstrates a delay of 1.5 standard deviation or 25% of chronological age delay in one or more of the following developmental areas as measured by appropriate evaluation tests or procedures, and administered by qualified personnel. In the case of hearing and vision, the criteria listed within hearing impairment and vision impairment applies:

a. Cognitive;


b. Physical (vision, hearing, fine or gross motor);


1) Hearing Impairment that adversely affects the child’s development:


a) Unilateral sensory-neural hearing loss and/or permanent conductive hearing loss of 45dB or greater;

b) Bilateral sensory-neural hearing loss and/or permanent conductive hearing loss which includes:


  1. Hearing loss of 20 dB or greater in the better ear average of the frequencies 500, 1,000, and 2,000Hz;
  2. High frequency loss greater than 25dB at two or more consecutive frequencies or average of three frequencies between 2000 and 6000Hz in the better ear;
  3. Low frequency hearing loss greater than 30dB at 250 and 500Hz in the better ear; or
  4. Thresholds greater than 25dB on Auditory Brainstem Response threshold testing in the better ear; or

c) A six-month history of fluctuating conductive hearing loss or chronic middle ear effusion/infection of 3 months unresolved past initial evaluation.


2) Vision Impairment:


a) A vision impairment that adversely affects the child’s development even with correction. Eligibility is dependent on documentation of a visual impairment, including one or more of the following conditions:


  1. i. Legal blindness or visual handicap as they are customarily defined, either in terms of qualifying reduction in visual acuity and/or a qualified reduction in visual fields;
  2. ii. A visual impairment, which is progressive in nature and can be expected to lead to blindness within a reasonable period of time;

b) If a visual acuity or field cannot be determined:


  1. Qualified personnel must identify a diagnosis or medical history, which indicates a high probability of visual loss that may adversely affect the child’s development;
  2. Functional vision evaluation by a qualified professional is necessary to determine eligibility.

c. Communication;


d. Social or Emotional; or


e. Adaptive.


  1. Or a diagnosed physical or mental condition A child is eligible if he or she has a diagnosed physical or mental condition that has a high probability of resulting in a developmental delay, including but not limited to:

a. Chromosomal abnormalities associated with mental retardation, such as Down Syndrome;


b. Congenital central nervous system birth defects or syndromes, such as myelomeningocele, fetal alcohol syndrome, or Cornelia de Lange syndrome;


c. Deaf, blind or deaf-blind;


d. Established central nervous system deficits resulting from hypoxia, trauma, or infection;


e. Cerebral palsy;


f. Health impairments such as autism, epilepsy, neurological impairment or other chronic or acute or degenerative health problems;


g. Orthopedically impaired (i.e., impairments of the normal function of muscles, joints or bones due to congenital anomaly, disease or permanent injury; and/or


h. Microcephaly.