Early Childhood Special Education and Intervention

Idaho’s Infant Toddler Program

Idaho’s Infant Toddler Program (ITP) coordinates a system of early intervention services to assist Idaho children from birth to 3 years of age who have a developmental delay or who have conditions that may result in a developmental delay.  

The Infant Toddler Program links children with services that promote their physical, cognitive, and social-emotional development and supports the needs of their families. In Idaho, services are provided at no cost to families.  Funding comes from private insurance, Medicaid, and  federal and state funds. Families can apply for services on their own, or their health care provider may make a referral.  The services can include: 

  • Service Coordination
  • Developmental Therapy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Speech-Language Therapy
  • Hearing and Vision services
  • Other support services

Early Childhood Special Education

Developmental preschool for children with disabilities, also known as Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) ages 3-5, is an educational setting designed to support the growth and development of young children who have various disabilities or developmental delays. These preschool programs are specifically tailored to meet the unique needs of children with disabilities and provide them with early intervention services. 

The main goals of developmental preschool for children with disabilities include:

Early identification and intervention: Developmental preschools aim to identify disabilities or developmental delays at an early stage, allowing for timely intervention and support. Early intervention has been shown to have a significant positive impact on a child’s long-term development.

Individualized education: Preschool programs for children with disabilities offer individualized education plans (IEPs) that outline specific goals within the three Early Childhood Outcome areas. These plans are tailored to meet the child’s unique needs, considering their strengths, challenges, and learning style.

Therapeutic services: Developmental preschools often provide a range of therapeutic services based on the child’s needs. This may include speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and behavioral therapy, among others. These services help children develop essential skills and overcome challenges associated with their disabilities.

Social and emotional development: Preschool is a crucial time for socialization and learning important social and emotional skills. Developmental preschools create a supportive and inclusive environment where children with disabilities can interact with their peers, develop friendships, and learn social skills necessary for future social interactions.

Pre-academic and academic skills: Developmental preschools focus on developing pre-academic and academic skills appropriate for a child’s developmental level. They provide age-appropriate activities and learning experiences to promote cognitive growth, language development, early literacy, and numeracy skills.

Family involvement and support: These programs recognize the importance of family involvement and provide support to parents or caregivers. They may offer parent training, workshops, and resources to help families better understand their child’s needs, support their child’s development at home, and access community resources.