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In the United States, the Early Intervention Program for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was established in 1986. This federal mandate requires each state to establish a statewide, comprehensive, and coordinated system of early intervention services for infants and toddlers (birth to 36 months) who have or are at risk for developmental delays or disabilities. The purpose of these services is to promote the development of identified children and support their families in addressing their children’s learning needs. The effectiveness of early intervention is supported by research on the benefits of early intervention services and on the significance of early experiences on brain development. This entry highlights relevant federal legislation, state requirements, criteria for eligibility, the ...

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