Alert: Beginning July 1, 2018, the Department of Early Learning will become the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF). After June 30, 2018, this website will no longer be updated. For the latest information on early learning, visit the DCYF website at

Early intervention services


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Early intervention services are designed to enable young children to be active and successful participants during the early childhood years and in the future in a variety of settings—in their homes, in child care, in preschool or school programs, and in their communities. The ESIT program supports families with information and skills to ensure they are supported as the most critical influence on their child’s early learning and development.

Early intervention services may include but are not limited to specialized instruction, speech therapy, occupational therapy, or physical therapy.

What to expect from an evaluation

  • You will be asked to sign a consent form prior to the evaluation.
  • You will be asked to share information about your child’s development, health and medical history. You will be asked to provide information about your family’s resources, priorities and concerns. This information is necessary to help the early intervention team develop a plan that meet the needs of your child and family.
  • A team of professionals will work with you to evaluate your child’s development in five areas:
    • Physical: Reaching for and grasping toys, crawling, walking, jumping.
    • Cognitive: Watching activities, following simple directions, problem-solving.
    • Social-emotional: Making needs known, initiating games, starting to take turns.
    • Communication: Vocalizing, babbling, using two- to three-word phrases.
    • Adaptive: Holding a bottle, eating with fingers, getting dressed.

Parent rights (Procedural Safeguards)

If you have a concern or disagree with any part of the early intervention process, call your Family Resources Coordinator. They can help you explore your concerns.

If your concern has not been addressed, formal dispute resolution options are available to families. The parent rights brochure provides information about dispute resolution options:

Child outcome summary (COS) process

Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP)

Early intervention helps parents and caregivers support their child’s healthy development. The IFSP contains goals, or outcomes, that you and other members of the team will identify based on your family’s concerns, priorities and resources. Services will be identified to help your child and family meet the IFSP outcomes.

IFSP reviews: How will we know if my child is making progress?

Your child’s service providers track the progress made toward the IFSP outcomes. If your child is not making progress toward the outcome, the IFSP can be reviewed at any time at your request so any necessary changes can be made. The IFSP is required to be reviewed every six months and rewritten annually.

Transition: What happens at age 3?

Early intervention services end on your child’s third birthday. Prior to your child’s third birthday, a transition plan will be developed. The plan may include other programs or services for your child. Some children are eligible for early childhood special education services provided by the local school district. The transition brochure contains more information about the transition process.

Transition brochure:

Other resources

  • Families are Important video: This training video provides an overview of the IDEA, Part C Early Intervention in Washington.
  • Families are Important video - Spanish
  • Our Next Step video: This training curriculum explains the transition process from early intervention services at age 3. It guides families through the transition process from Part C of IDEA to Part B special education preschool. The training is available in English and Spanish from Washington’s parent training and information center, Partnerships for Action Voices for Empowerment (PAVE). It is designed by families, for families and is intended to be used with the participant manual that can be downloaded from PAVE’s website.

Parent leadership: Are there other opportunities for me to be involved?

ESIT welcomes involvement from families who participate in early intervention. There are opportunities for parent leadership at the local and state levels. For more information, please contact the ESIT Parent Participation Coordinator at (360) 725-4413.

Read more about parent involvement through Washington interagency coordinating councils.