Birth to Three

Early Intervention Services are provided for children who are under the age of three who have developmental delays or are at risk for developmental delays. Eligibility is determined after an evaluation is completed.


Parents may request an evaluation if they have concerns about their child’s development. Other sources of referrals include early childhood screening, public health nurses, daycares, pre-schools, or your pediatrician. Parent permission and signatures are required in order to complete an evaluation. 

Intake Visit
After a referral is made, staff from the Birth to Three Early Intervention or Early Childhood Special Education program will contact you and arrange to meet you at your house or at our school. We will ask for information from you regarding your child’s early development, strengths, and concerns you may have.

If your child is under three years of age, all areas of development will be assessed. For children three years of age and older, the specific tests used will be determined based on the areas of concern. The assessment process may require several visits.  The amount of time needed will depend on things such as your child’s age, attention span, and the areas of development that are going to be assessed.   

During the assessment process, the following things may occur.

  • The parent/guardian may be asked to fill out some questionnaires in order for us to get more understanding of your child’s skills.  
  • Assessments will be administered that evaluate cognition, speech-language, fine and gross motor, social-emotional, and/or adaptive skills.  
  • An observation will be completed in a familiar setting for your child which could be your home, daycare, or pre-school.  
  • An interview with a parent will be completed to discuss their child’s development, and areas of strength and concerns.
  • Any information from other sources such as testing results from other clinics or agencies will be reviewed with parent/guardian permission. 

A team of people will complete the assessment. Team members may include:

  • An Early Childhood Special Education Teacher may look at how your child understands concepts, problem solves in every day tasks, completes skills such as dressing, eating and toileting, and plays and interacts with others.
  • A Speech and Language Pathologist may evaluate how your child understands language, how they express themselves, and how they produce speech sounds.
  • An Occupational Therapist may look at movement skills, hand use and eye/hand coordination.
  • A School Psychologist may look at how your child thinks and learns and how information is understood. They may also help in assessing your child’s social and self-help skills. 
  • Other team members may include a Physical Therapist, Autism Resource Specialist, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, or a Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. 

Evaluation Summary Meeting
After your child’s assessment is complete, we will meet with you to discuss the results. Throughout this process, we will determine if your child is eligible for special education services. Your child must meet state criteria in order to access special education services. When we review the evaluation results, we will discuss several possible outcomes.

If your child does not meet state criteria for services, the staff may give you ideas, suggestions or referrals to other agencies that may be helpful to you.

If your child qualifies for special education services, and you choose to receive services, we will develop a plan that is individualized to your child’s needs.   The plan will include goals that the school team and parents would like to see your child meet in the next six months to a year. 

An infant or toddler is eligible for intervention services, if the child:

1. Meets the criteria for any one of the special education disability categories, (Specific Learning Disability, Emotional/Behavioral Disorders, Speech/Language Impaired, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Deaf-Blindness, Hearing Impaired, Physically Impaired, Other Health Impaired, or Visually Impaired) OR

2. The child meets one of the following criteria for developmental delay (a or b):

a.  The child is experiencing a developmental delay that is demonstrated by a score of 1.5 standard deviations or more below the mean, as measured by the appropriate diagnostic measures and procedures, in one or more of the following areas:

    • Cognitive development;
    • Physical development, including vision and hearing;
    • Communication development;
    • Social or emotional development;
    • Adaptive development.
b. The child has a diagnosed physical or mental condition or disorder with a high probability of resulting in a delay, regardless of whether the child has a demonstrated need or demonstrated delay (such as Down syndrome or very low birth weight). 

When an infant or toddler has been identified as being eligible for Early Intervention services, an Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) is written. An IFSP describes a family’s long- and short-term goals for their child.   

Services are provided in your home or your daycare setting. Visits occur weekly to every few months, depending on your child’s needs. Several professionals may be on your child’s team to help develop and implement the Individual Family Service Plan. From that team, one primary service provider will be responsible for working with your family and will be the main contact person for you. Team members may include:

  • Early Childhood Special Education Teacher
  • Speech and Language Pathologist
  • Occupational Therapist
  • School Psychologist
  • Physical Therapist
  • Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
  • Teacher of the Visually Impaired

Our Early Intervention team has offices at the Early Learning and Family Resource Center, 1970 Christensen Avenue, West St. Paul. Please call 651-403-8390, if you have any concerns or questions about your child’s development or would like further information regarding Early Intervention Services.  

For more information on child development and birth to three services, visit the main Minnesota Department of Education website or their Help Me Grow website.