Early intervention supports and services are essential for children with ASD or those suspected of having the disorder. The period in a child's life from birth to age three is a time of tremendous development and growth. Early intervention (also called Part C) works closely with families to provide individualized supports and services that help children develop and gain critical skills. Throughout the Commonwealth of VA, early intervention services are provided through the Infant and Toddler Connection of Virginia.
The Infant & Toddler Connection of Virginia provides early intervention supports and services to infants and toddlers who are not developing as expected or who have a medical condition that can delay normal development. This can include those children diagnosed with ASD, but also children with other delays and disabilities. While a diagnosis is not required for services with early intervention, if an infant or toddler in Virginia has a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder, he or she is automatically eligible for intervention. These supports and services are available for all eligible children and their families regardless of the family's ability to pay. Research has shown that early intervention is a crucial program for both children with disabilities and their families. If you have ANY concerns at all about your child's development, please call the general hotline number for Virginia's early intervention program, Infant and Toddler Connection, at 1-800-234-4488.
The resources in this section on early intervention provide valuable information for both family members and early intervention providers. They are designed to help you understand what early intervention is, how it is to be implemented, and why it is important for the young child with ASD.
Infant and Toddler Connection of Virginia is the Part C / early intervention provider for the Commonwealth of Virginia. This website provides extensive information for both parents and providers concerning rules, regulations, and resources for infants and toddlers.
The Virginia Early Intervention Professional Development Center website provides extensive information including resources, videos, online modules, and other information related to various EI topics and trends.
Zero to Three is a national, nonprofit organization providing information, training, and support in order to improve the lives of infants and toddlers. The website provides extensive information on behavior, development, and public policy of infant and toddler care.
The Early Head Start National Resource Center provides news, information, resources, and activities for low-income families with infants and toddlers, and pregnant women.
The Virginia Head Start Association's website provides training, advocacy, and resources for parents and providers. Information regarding eligibility and how to find a local Head Start program in VA is also included.
The National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center, or NECTAC, is supported by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs. Their website has training opportunities, publications, research, and reference links, as well as, specific topic pages including one on ASD.
The U.S. Department of Education's webpage for early intervention programs can provide you with performance reports and funding status, as well as, laws, regulations, and guidance.
Guides and Factsheets
If you, or a family you know, has concerns about a child's development or is looking for more information about making a referral to early intervention, the Referral Guide from the Infant and Toddler Connection of Virginia contains specific contact information by county and detailed information about how to make a referral.
Videos and Training
The VA Early Intervention Professional Development Center has posted videos on numerous topics related to early intervention including the benefits of early intervention, collaborating with pediatricians, IFSP development, inclusion, and service coordination.
The Infant and Toddler Connection has posted a YouTube video with former Governor Time Kaine speaking on the importance of early intervention in Virginia.
The webinar, Accessing EPSDT for Part C Services: Achieving a Better Fit Between the EI Philosophy and Allowable Medicaid Covered Services, (September 5, 2011) is available online at NECTAC. The online webinar addresses the fiscal challenges of Part C services and improving access to Medicaid. The presenters are from the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services and the Infant and Toddler Connection of Virginia.
Research and Articles
Boyd, B.A., Odom, S.L., Humphreys, B.P., & Sam, A.M. (2010). Infants and toddlers with autism spectrum disorder: Early identification and early intervention. Journal of Early Intervention, 32(2), 75-98.
Friedman, M. & Woods, J. (2012). Caregiver coaching strategies for early intervention providers: Moving toward operational definitions. Infants & Young Children, 25(1), 62-82.
Matson, J.L. & Konst, M.J. (2013). What is the evidence for long term effects of early autism interventions? Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, (7), 475-479.
Rush, D.D., Shelden, M.L., & Hanft, B.E. (2003). Coaching families and colleagues: A process for collaboration in natural settings. Infants & Young Children, 16(1), 33-47.
Strain, P., Schwartz, I., & Barton, E.E. (2011). Providing interventions for young children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: What we still need to accomplish. Journal of Early Intervention, 33, 321.
Wise, M.D., Little, A.A., Holliman, J.B., Wise, P.H., & Wang, C.J. (2010). Can state early intervention programs meet the increased demand of children suspected of having autism spectrum disorders? Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, 31(6), 469-76.