Children who receive early and regular developmental screenings and access to high quality early intervention services to address developmental delays and social-emotional health issues show improved:
- Social skills
- Cognitive abilities
- Math and reading skills1
Early detection and diagnosis helps parents and child care and early education teachers make appropriate decisions about educational programs.2
When children have developmental delays or social-emotional health issues that are undetected and untreated, it can cause physical delays and an inability to form and maintain relationships. Poor relationships impact children’s learning and can cause:
- Emotional and mental health problems
- School dropout
- Poor social skills and lack of empathy3
- Schorr, 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 ↵
- Schorr, Pathway to Children Ready for School, op cit. ↵
- Hanag, 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 ↵
What Can We Do About It?
What supports early intervention?
- Early and regular screening and treatment for developmental delays, social-emotional issues and risk factors
- Care coordination and support for transitions among services
- Improving the capacity of early education programs to effectively include infants and toddlers with disabilities and delays
What Works for Third Grade Reading: 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. It is one of 12 new working papers that offer research-based policy, practice and program options to states and communities working to improve third grade reading proficiency.
Research Basis for Pathways Measures of Success Framework
This resource provides data definitions of the Measures of Success and shares the research for each measure, demonstrating the connections between the measures and third-grade reading proficiency. A list of sources is included for each group of measures.
Investing in North Carolina's Healthy Future
A fact sheet to highlights the interconnectedness of health and learning.
What Works for Third Grade Reading: An Overview of the NC Pathways to Grade-Level Reading
The paper provides an introduction to a series of 12 working papers that offer research-based policy, practice and program options to states and communities working to improve third grade reading proficiency. Read this document first before delving into the papers.
Related News Posts
More About Early Intervention
Early Intervention Services Offered.
Nationwide, about 15 percent of children ages three to 17 have a developmental or behavioral disability, including:
- Intellectual disability
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
- Language or communication delays
Many children with developmental disabilities are not identified before they reach fourth grade at about age ten.1 Children’s outcomes are better the earlier delays and disabilities can be diagnosed and addressed.
The federal IDEA program includes:
- Part C, which defines eligibility and services for infants and toddlers up to age two
- Part B, which defines eligibility and services for children ages three to 21
IDEA Part C is referred to here as “Early Intervention.” Early Intervention services can be provided to infants and toddlers who have a physical or mental delay, disability or special need. Some states also provide services to children or who are at high risk for delay due to family circumstances like parental mental illness, poverty or homelessness.2 Services are provided to help children develop skills, including:
- Physical and motor skills such as reaching, rolling, crawling, and walking
- Cognitive skills such thinking, learning, solving problems
- Communication skills such as talking, listening, understanding
- Social-emotional development and skills such as playing and feeling secure and happy
- Self-help skills such as eating and dressing3
Early intervention services are offered without regard to family income.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Developmental Monitoring and Screening, op cit. ↵
- Wrights Law. (n.d.). Early Intervention (Part C of IDEA). Retrieved February 17, 2017 from http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/ei.index.htm ↵
- Center for Parent Information and Resources, Overview of Early Intervention, op cit. ↵
Early intervention services can increase the efficiency of other systems that interact with children with disabilities. Some programs return up to $8 for every $1 invested.1
- Adams, 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 ↵
Early Intervention in North Carolina.
In 2015, the North Carolina Early Intervention program served just over 10,000 young children, including about:
- 1,400 infants, ages birth to one year
- 3,100 toddlers ages one to two years
- 5,700 toddlers ages two to three years
- More boys than girls1
Assuring Better Child Health and Development (ABCD)2
The North Carolina ABCD Program began in early 2000, and by 2004 the program had expanded across the state to all 14 of North Carolina’s Community Care for North Carolina (CCNC) regions.3 To improve the recognition of developmental delays in children, the program:
- Works with practices to integrate standardized, validated developmental screenings at certain well-child visits
- Supports primary care practices and parents in best practices, including engaging with local communities and responding to parents’ developmental concerns
- Identifies barriers to screening and receiving needed early intervention services
- Monitors and tracks Medicaid impact[ 4. Community Care of NC, Assuring Better Child Health and Development, op cit. and Dr. Marian Earls, CCNC]
The program works with physician practices to:
- Provide screenings as part of regular well-child visits
- Promote healthy child development
- Identify risk of developmental delays and social-emotional health issues
- Engage families to increase screening and treatment rates
- Link families to resources to address issues found during screening
- Track referrals to early intervention services
North Carolina is a leader in developmental screening. ABCD has improved the rates of developmental screening at well-child visits among Medicaid-eligible birth-to-five-year-olds from 12% in 1999 to 92% today.
ABCD in North Carolina has expanded beyond screening for developmental delays to include screening for autism and maternal depression. Currently, 79% of Medicaid-eligible birth-to-five-year-olds are screened for autism. Expansion is focused on screening for specific social-emotional needs and for social determinants of health, like poverty or homelessness.
Health Check: North Carolina’s EPSDT Program for Children who have Medicaid
Early Periodic Screening Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT) defines the required and recommended components of preventive care for children and adolescents. EPSDT ensures children access to needed treatment and services identified with screening, whether or not those services are normally covered. North Carolina’s program is called Health Check and ensures that children receive regular preventive care, and diagnoses and treatment of health problems.4 Health Check is administered by the North Carolina Division of Medical Assistance.
As the result of the work of ABCD over the past decade, North Carolina now requires the use of a formal, standardized developmental screening tool at Medicaid-funded well-child Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT) visits.5 These screenings occur at the 6-month, 12-month, 18- or 24-month, 36-month, 48-month and 60-month visits.6
In September 2016, North Carolina was recognized nationally for leading the nation in EPSDT services.
- U.S. Department of Education. (2017). IDEA Section 618 Data Products: Static Tables. Retrieved from https://www2.ed.gov/programs/osepidea/618-data/static-tables/index.html#partc-cc ↵
- Unless otherwise noted, information about the ABCD program is from Dr. Marian Earls, CCNC. ↵
- Community Care of North Carolina. (n.d.). Assuring Better Child Health and Development. Retrieved November 8, 2016 from https://www.communitycarenc.org/population-management/medical-home/ABCD/ ↵
- North Carolina Division of Medical Assistance. (n.d.). Health Check and EPSDT. Retrieved on November 8, 2016 from https://dma.ncdhhs.gov/medicaid/get-started/find-programs-and-services/health-check-and-epsdt ↵
- Community Care of NC, Assuring Better Child Health and Development, op cit. ↵
- Zero to Three. (2016). North Carolina Medicaid requires developmental screening in health settings. Retrieved from https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/863-north-carolina-medicaid-requires-developmental-screening-in-health-settings ↵