The Early Intervention area of concentration in the Special Education Program focuses on young children with disabilities (ages birth to five) and their families. As a field, early intervention promotes the following benefits in this population:
- Minimizes the potential for developmental delay and reduces the impact of disabling conditions
- Reduces the overall cost of educational services through prevention and attenuation
- Enhances the capabilities of families to meet the needs of their children
- Minimizes the likelihood of institutionalization of children with special needs
- Maximizes the developmental potential of young children to eventually live independently in society
The Early Intervention program prepares practitioners in the assessment and educational programming of young children with disabilities. Emphasis is placed on working in partnership with families and collaborating with professionals from other disciplines who also provide services to these young children. The program incorporates material about the wide-variety of program types in which young children are served including their homes, schools, centers, clinics, hospitals, and community settings. Natural and other inclusive environments are stressed.