Early Intervention vs. Special Education - Why 3 is an important age.


Not every child who receives Early Intervention will receive Special Education Services. So how do you know what to do and when to ensure your child receives every education opportunity they should receive? There are several topics and areas to be aware of while navigating this process. Here are just a few of them. 

The differences between Early Intervention and Special Education

  • Early Intervention is family centered while Special Education is child centered.
  • Early Intervention services are for  children up to age 3 with developmental delays. 
  • Special Education is for children, with specific diagnoses listed in the law, from age 3 to 22 who need specialized instruction to make effective progress and/or related services to access the curriculum. 

Transition Planning Conference

There are 5 transition steps from early intervention to special education services. The Transition Planning Conference is just one of those steps. 

  • Occurs between 2.3 and 2.9 years old
  • Includes Early Intervention and school staff
  • Special Education eligibility is NOT determined at this meeting (that only happens at a school district Team meeting).
  • Discuss concerns about your child and evaluation process
  • Ask about signing a consent form for school to perform an evaluation. 

The special education eligibility

1. Does the child have a disability listed in the law?

2. Is the child making less progress over time than same age peers?

3. Does the child require specially designed instruction and/or related services to make effective progress?

ALL 3 answers must be YES to receive special education services. You do have rights if you disagree with the outcome. 

Contact Attorney Curran to discuss in more detail what you should do if you believe your young child may need Special Education services. 

10 Tower Office Park
Suite 406
Woburn, MA 01801
Phone: 781-933-1542
Fax: 781-933-1549