What Works in Early Intervention?

Next up in our What Works for Third Grade Reading series is Early Intervention. This brief considers why early intervention matters for children’s third grade reading proficiency, outlines the connection with other factors that impact early literacy, and highlights options that have been shown to improve early outcomes for young children.

About 13 percent of American children ages three to 17 years have a developmental or behavioral disability. These include autism, intellectual disability, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and/or language or communication delays. Many children with developmental disabilities are not identified before they reach fourth grade at about age ten.1

Undetected developmental problems and emotional disturbance can cause physical delays, the inability to maintain relationships, and serious impediments to learning. Poor peer relationships are associated with later emotional and mental health problems, school dropout, delinquency, aggression, poor social skills, and lack of empathy.2

Children who receive early and regular developmental screenings and early access to high quality Early Intervention services, if needed, demonstrate improved social competence and cognitive abilities in the short-term and often achieve long-term educational benefits, including math and reading skills on par with peers.3 Early detection and diagnosis helps parents and child care and early education teachers make appropriate decisions about educational programs.4

Early intervention programs can be a wise investment to increase the efficiency of other systems that interact with children with disabilities, including the school system and social safety net programs. Some Early Intervention programs return up to $8 for every $1 invested.5

What Works for Third Grade Reading is a collection of 12 working papers that address whole-child, birth-to-age-eight factors that support children’s optimal development and improve reading proficiency. The resource was produced by the Institute for Child Success and the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation, in collaboration with BEST NC, to support the work of the NC Pathways to Grade-Level Reading (Pathways) initiative.

Listen to a webinar that provides an overview of the working papers and shares other Pathways resources that may assist communities in improving outcomes for young children.

1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Developmental Monitoring and Screening, op cit.

2Hanag, J. F., Shaw, J. S., & Duncan, P. M. (2008). Bright Futures: Guidelines for Health Supervision of Infants, Children, and Adolescents. Elk Gove Village, Illinois: American Academy of Pediatrics. Retrieved from https://brightfutures.aap.org/bright%20Futures%20Documents/BF3%20pocket%20guide_final.pdf

3Schorr, L. B. & Marchand, V. (2007). Pathway to Children Ready for School and Succeeding at Third Grade. Retrieved from http://first5shasta.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/PathwayFramework9-07.pdf and The National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center. (2011). The Outcomes of Early Intervention for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities and their Families. Retrieved from http://www.nectac.org/~pdfs/pubs/outcomesofearlyintervention.pdf

4Schorr, Pathway to Children Ready for School, op cit.

5Adams, R.C., Tapia, C. (2013). Early Intervention, IDEA Part C Services, and the Medical Home: Collaboration for Best Practice and Outcomes. Pediatrics, 132(4), e1073-e1088. Retrieved from: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/132/4/e1073