Most babies develop and grow in predictable ways: they gain new skills, talk, and walk within an average range. But some infants and toddlers have physical, mental, or environmental challenges that lead to developmental delays. Early intervention services such as speech and physical therapy can help.
Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is the federal program that ensures that very young children with developmental challenges have the best chance for healthy development. Research shows that the earlier young children can access such services, the greater developmental and educational gains they will experience.
The Ounce of Prevention Fund is a leading voice for maximizing early intervention services in Illinois. The Illinois Early Intervention program treats children ages birth to three with developmental problems. The Ounce’s advocacy efforts include monitoring funding levels, advocating for families to have better access to services, and ensuring coordination of early intervention services with other early childhood programs in the state. In 2009, the Ounce worked to pass a statute to create the Early Intervention Task Force.