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Early Intervention for Children and Families : With Special Needs

Blann, Lauren E. MSN, RN, CRN

MCN, The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing: July-August 2005 - Volume 30 - Issue 4 - p 263-267
Feature articles

The purpose of this article is to provide a general overview of early intervention and how nurses can interface with this important program for children. “Early intervention” in this context refers to services for young children (birth to age 3) who have developmental delays or are at risk for delays, as well as for their families. These programs are administered by each state but are federally funded under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Act. The primary objective of early intervention is to maintain or maximize a child’s development; a wide range of services may be provided including nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and family counseling. Overall, early intervention programs have been shown to improve developmental outcomes, strengthen parent-child interactions, and provide a supportive family environment. There is a continued need for research, however, in many areas, including assessing the long-term effects of services for specific groups, determining the most effective means of providing services, and evaluating outcomes of family functioning.

Hopefully we all refer appropriate families to early intervention programs. What do those programs do? What are the eligibility criteria?

Lauren E. Blann is a Nurse Consultant in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. She can be reached via e-mail at

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.