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Illinois Early Intervention Definitions A-F


The Early Intervention Services System Act [325 ILCS 20].


The ongoing procedures used by qualified personnel to identify the child's unique strengths and needs and the early intervention services appropriate to meet those needs throughout the period of the child's eligibility and includes the assessment of the child and the child's family.  An initial assessment refers to the assessment of the child and family conducted prior to the child's first Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) meeting.


Children under 36 months of age.

Child Find

An activity that identifies potentially eligible infants and toddlers.

Complaining Party

For purposes of Section 500.140, the persons or entities filing a request for a Due Process Hearing.


The Illinois Interagency Council on Early Intervention established under Section 4 of the Early Intervention Services System Act.


An official documentation from the Department's credentialing office that an individual has met pertinent licensing, degree, and certification requirements as set forth in Appendix C, as well as the applicable education, experience, continuing professional education, and ongoing professional development requirements as set forth in Section 500.60.


Calendar day.


The Illinois Department of Human Services.


Physical destruction or removal of personal identifiers from information so that the information is no longer personally identifiable.

Early Intervention Services

"EI services" means services that:

    • Are designed to meet the developmental needs of an infant or toddler with a disability and the needs of the family to assist appropriately in the infant's or toddler's development, based on scientifically-based research to the extent practicable and as identified by the IFSP team, in the areas of development listed in this definition;
    • Are related to enhancing the child's development;
    • Are selected in collaboration with the child's family;
    • Are provided under public supervision;
    • Are provided at no cost except where a schedule of sliding scale fees or other system of payments by families has been adopted in accordance with State and federal law;
    • Are designed to meet an infant's or toddler's developmental needs in any of the following areas:
      • Cognitive development;
      • Physical development, including vision and hearing;
      • Communication development;
      • Social or emotional development; or
      • Adaptive development;
    • Meet the standards of this Part, including the requirements of the Act;
    • Include one or more of the services set forth in Section 500.55;
    • Are provided by qualified personnel, as set forth in Section 500.60;
    • Are provided in conformity with an IFSP;
    • Are provided throughout the year; and
    • Are provided to the maximum extent appropriate in natural environments, including settings that are natural or typical for a same-age infant or toddler without a disability and may include home or community settings.

Early Intervention Services System

The system of service delivery described in this Part that implements Part C of IDEA in Illinois and the Illinois Early Intervention Services System Act.

Eligible Children

Infants and toddlers under 36 months of age with any of the following conditions:

  • Developmental delay;
  • A physical or mental condition that has a high probability of resulting in a developmental delay; or
  • At risk of having substantial developmental delays, according to informed clinical opinion. 

Developmental Delay

A Department determined eligible level of delay (30% and above) in one or more of the following areas of childhood development:  cognitive; physical; communication; social or emotional; or adaptive, as measured by Department approved diagnostic instruments and standard procedures or as confirmed through informed clinical opinion of qualified staff based upon multidisciplinary evaluation and assessment if the child is unable to be appropriately and accurately tested by the standardized measures available.

Physical or mental condition that has a high probability of resulting in a developmental delay means a medical diagnosis approved by the Department as an eligible condition or confirmed by a qualified family physician, pediatrician or pediatric sub-specialist as being a condition with a relatively well known expectancy for developmental outcomes within varying ranges of developmental disabilities.  Pediatric subspecialists included are those such as pediatric neurologists, geneticists, pediatric orthopedic surgeons and pediatricians with special interest in disabilities.

At risk of substantial developmental delay, according to informed clinical opinion, means that there is consensus of qualified staff based upon multidisciplinary evaluation and assessment that development of a Department determined eligible level of delay is probable if early intervention services are not provided, because a child is experiencing either:

    • A parent who has been medically diagnosed as having a mental illness or serious emotional disorder defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual V (DSM V) (American Psychiatric Association, 1000 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 1825, Arlington, VA 22209-3901) that has resulted in a significant impairment in the client's level of functioning in at least one major life functional area or a developmental disability; or
    • Three or more of the following risk factors:
      • Current alcohol or substance abuse by the primary caregiver;
      • Primary caregiver who is currently less than 15 years of age;
      • Current homelessness of the child;
      • Chronic illness of the primary caregiver;
      • Alcohol or substance abuse by the mother during pregnancy with the child;
      • oPrimary caregiver with a level of education equal to or less than the 10th grade, unless that level is appropriate to the primary caregiver's age;
      • An indicated case of abuse or neglect regarding the child and the child has not been removed from the abuse or neglect circumstances.

Services for children determined to be "at risk" shall not be funded under Federal Part C funding, nor subject to its requirements.


To enter into a Service Provider Agreement that establishes duties, expectations and relationships between the Department and the individual or agency provider that provides early intervention services to eligible children and their families.  A provider must be enrolled to bill and receive payment for services from the Early Intervention Program.


The procedures used by qualified personnel to determine a child's initial and continuing eligibility under this Part consistent with the definition of "eligible children" or "eligible child".  Initial evaluation refers to the child's evaluation to determine his or her initial eligibility under this Part.


Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (20 USC 1232(g)) and the regulations promulgated under that Act (34 CFR 99).


89 Ill. Admin. Code 500.20

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