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Understanding Evaluations and Eligibility Decisions

Per federal and state rules and regulations, for a child to be eligible for early intervention, the child must have a delay in at least one area of development or a disability. Area Education Agency and Child Health Specialty Clinics staff and families collaborate to complete comprehensive evaluations to determine eligibility.

Child Find, Referrals, Case Closures and Intake

Access to Iowa’s early intervention system starts with the referral to Early ACCESS and determination of eligibility during the initial evaluation process. An evaluation team, which includes the family, works together to implement appropriate and individualized evaluation activities that provide documentation to establish eligibility.

Initial Evaluations

Referred infant and toddlers can receive a timely, comprehensive, multidisciplinary evaluation to determine eligibility for Early ACCESS services, based on a diagnosed condition or developmental delay.


In Early ACCESS, the IFSP team must annually review all areas of development to determine if the child will continue to be eligible for services. The IFSP team will use current assessment information to make the determination.  However, if necessary, the team may need to collect additional data to ensure all areas of development are addressed.

Exiting Early Intervention Services

Early ACCESS services are provided until a child’s third birthday, the child is no longer eligible, or there is no longer a need for early intervention services. It is essential for IFSP teams to prepare for the time when the child will no longer receive early intervention services. All children exiting near their third birthday will be provided an opportunity for transition planning.