State To Become First To Offer Early Intervention To Children Until School Age
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee will become the first state to extend early intervention services to infants and children with developmental delays or disabilities until they reach school age, the state Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities announced this month.
The Tennessee Early Intervention System will give eligible families the option to receive services until the beginning of the school year following the child’s fifth birthday. It’s the top age range allowed for early intervention services through the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
“We’ve seen children across Tennessee make incredible strides in their development through early intervention services,” Brad Turner, Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities commissioner, said in a news release. “We are thrilled we can continue to lead the nation and take this opportunity to give families the support they need to help their children grow and prepare for school.”
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The Tennessee Early Intervention System is a voluntary program that offers therapy and other services at no cost to infants and young children with developmental delays or disabilities. It provided services to nearly 18,000 children in fiscal year 2023.
Last year, the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities gave families the option to extend services until the start of the school year following a child’s fourth birthday. The latest federal approval extends the length of time for an additional year.
© 2023 Chattanooga Times Free Press
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