Early ACCESS Professionals
Why should I consider a career in early intervention?
Research indicates that brain development is most influenced in the first three years of life. Early intervention is a rewarding career that will offer you the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of infants and toddlers with developmental delays and their families. The primary role of an EI service provider is to support families to increase their child's participation in everyday routines and activities. EI service providers use coaching interactions during early intervention visits to help parents develop their abilities to interact with children in ways that support their child's development.
What does early intervention look like in Iowa?
Early ACCESS has produced several videos of providers interacting with families on home visits, which can be found on the IA DMM website. In addition, the "Early Intervention Field Experience Guidance" also outlines many aspects of early intervention and what it entails.
What degree could I get if I'm interested in working with infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families through early intervention?
The field of early intervention offers a broad array of career opportunities including early childhood special education teachers, service coordinators, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, social workers, and more. Job opportunities are available for those with a high school diploma as well as four-year and advanced degrees.
I think I might want to be an occupational therapist (OT), physical therapist (PT), speech language pathologist (SLP), or social worker. What do they do in early intervention?
The documents below are position statements from discipline-related associations that will help explain the expectations for each type of career:
- Speech-Language Pathologists (Iowa Speech-Language Hearing Association:
ASHA Position Statement on Roles and Responsibilities of SLPs in Early Intervention
- Physical Therapists (Iowa Physical Therapy Association:
APTA Fact Sheet: Team-based Service Delivery Approaches in Pediatric Practice APTA Fact Sheet: Natural Environments in Early Intervention Services
- Occupational Therapists (Iowa Occupational Therapy Association:
The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Practice Advisory on OT in Early Intervention
- Social Workers (National Association of Social Workers – Heartland:
Link to History of School Social Work and Special Education
What if I'm interested in a career as a teacher in early intervention?
In Iowa's early intervention system (Early ACCESS), “teachers” are called Itinerant Teachers, Early Childhood Special Education Consultants or Teachers, Early Childhood Special Educators, Early ACCESS teachers, Early Childhood Specialists, or Home Interventionists. They typically have a background in early childhood special education (Unified teaching endorsement).
What colleges/universities in Iowa have programs to help me reach my goal to work in early intervention?
Early Childhood Special Education (Unified Endorsement 100 includes teaching children birth to age 8 including special education):
- Drake University
- Iowa State University
- University of Northern Iowa
- St. Ambrose University
- Loras College
- Northwestern College
- Upper Iowa University
- Mount Mercy
Master of Social Work:
The information above is adapted with permission from the Virginia Early Intervention Professional Development Center (http://veipd.org/main/faculty_future_ei.html) and edited to align with Iowa's early intervention system.