My Military
OneSource App
Education & Employment

Early Intervention Services

Benefit overview

Every child grows and learns at their own individual pace, but researchers agree that the first three years of a child’s life are the most critical for learning.

The Exceptional Family Member Program works with other community and military agencies to help you access the early intervention services support you and your infant or toddler need. Local school districts or health departments often provide these early intervention services.

How early intervention services help

EIS programs may be called different names in different areas but are often referred to as Part C because that is the section of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act that pertains to early intervention.

The EFMP Family Support provider can help you learn more about early intervention services in your location to ensure that your child gets support to overcome developmental delays.

Early intervention focuses on improving skills in the following areas:

  • Physical (reaching, crawling, walking, drawing)
  • Cognitive (thinking, learning, problem solving)
  • Communication skills (talking, listening, understanding)
  • Self-help skills (eating, dressing)
  • Social or emotional skills (playing, interacting with others)

Services might include but are not limited to: speech and language therapy, physical or occupational therapy, psychological services, hearing or vision services, social work services, transportation and assistive technology.

Find state early intervention services programs and coordinators

Make your family’s military relocation easier with the early intervention resources and tools in the Early Intervention Directory (Birth-3).

Image of Special Needs

Identifying the need for services

Sometimes it’s hard to identify possible delays but reviewing milestone checklists and watching the short course on Childhood Development Milestones and Identifying Delays may be helpful. Consider downloading the CDC’s Milestone Tracker App.

Make a list of your concerns and questions and talk to your child’s pediatrician. Often, physicians will give you a referral for an early intervention evaluation and point you in the right direction. However, you don’t need to have a doctor’s referral to request an evaluation.

Image of Parenting Hands

Evaluating for early intervention

To learn more about the evaluation process, reach out to your state program. Discuss your concerns and request to have your child evaluated for eligibility for early intervention services. The goal of the evaluation, also called initial assessment or eligibility assessment, is to see if your child can use help with life skills such as talking, movement, learning, etc.

Image of Chat 1

Understanding eligibility for services

After the evaluation, you’ll meet with the team to review the results and determine eligibility for services. Make sure you get all your questions answered and share if you have concerns or disagree with their findings.

Learning more about early intervention evaluation steps

Evaluation steps typically include the following:

  • A service coordinator/case manager will be assigned to answer your questions and oversee the process.
  • You must sign a written consent and agree to testing. You will then work out evaluation details with the service coordinator. Learn more about Parent Right and Procedural Safeguards.
  • Your child will typically be evaluated at your home or another familiar location.
  • A team of two or more will conduct the evaluation: developmental specialist, physical therapist, speech therapist, social worker/psychologist – all experienced with young children.
  • Evaluators may ask about your child’s medical history. They could observe your child’s interactions with other family members, give standard tests to learn about skills and ask your child to complete play-based tasks.

Finding early intervention services

Services under the early intervention program are available from birth through 36 months of age in every state and are typically provided in home and community settings. Your early intervention service coordinator oversees the services delivered by providers while your child is in early intervention.

CONUS families: The EFMP Family Support provider on your installation is a great point of contact to learn more about early intervention services in your location.

If your family lives on an installation with a Department of Defense Education Activity school, you can access early intervention screening and services through the Educational and Developmental Intervention Service at the installation military treatment facility.

If your installation does not have a DoDEA school or you live off the installation, you must access early intervention services for your child through local community services.

OCONUS families: Talk to the EFMP Family Support provider at your location to find out how to start the evaluation process or continue/transfer services.

Find EIS Services OCONUS

The Directory of Early Intervention, Special Education and Related Services shows which communities offer EIS services and the services they provide.


Eligibility for early intervention services

Eligible: The team will write an individualized family service plan that outlines the services and support your child will receive. Early intervention usually lasts until your child’s third birthday when your child may move to special education services under IDEA, if needed.

Not eligible: If your child is not found eligible and you disagree, you have the right to appeal the decision. You may also choose to research organizations with licensed professionals who can help you develop a plan and work with you and your child to overcome challenges. It’s a good idea to check with your health insurance provider to learn ahead of time what services your plan will cover.

Take advantage of all the resources and services available to you and your family. Get started with the Early Intervention Fact Sheet and the Office of Special Needs EFMP podcast series for information on enrollment, education, PCS, legal and long-term and financial planning and caregiving. And be sure to visit EFMP & Me, your 24/7 guide to everything EFMP.


Learn about military bases worldwide. Get installation overviews, check-in procedures, housing, neighborhood information, contacts for programs and services, photos and more.

Find an Installation