Encourage Healthy Child Development with Early ACCESS

No two children develop, grow and learn in the same way or at same pace. However, children do develop in certain predictable ways. If you have questions or concerns about how your infant or toddler plays, hears, sees, talks, eats or moves, contact Early ACCESS. Early ACCESS is for families with young children, birth to age 3. Early ACCESS works with families to identify child and family needs, determine if the child is eligible for Early ACCESS early intervention services, coordinate services, learn new information and discover what works best for each child.

If the child is eligible for Early ACCESS, the early intervention services are mostly provided by local Area Education Agencies (AEA). Child Health Specialty Clinics (CHSC) also provides Early ACCESS services. Early ACCESS services are provided in the child's home, child care setting, or other locations selected by the family. The services the child and family receive is based upon the needs of each child and family. Early intervention can make a difference.

If you want to make a referral to Early ACCESS either complete and submit the referral online or contact us by calling 1-888-IAKIDS1 (1-888-425-4371) or email us at iafamilysupportnetwork@vnsia.org. The IFSN will see that the family is contacted to arrange for a screening or evaluation to determine if a child is eligible for Early ACCESS.

Make a referral to Early ACCESS

What is Early ACCESS?

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) created the Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities Program (Part C) in 1986 to improve the development of infants and toddlers with disabilities. The Act also hopes to lower the likelihood of delays in development and improve outcomes of children before entering school. Part C funding provides early intervention (EI) services to infants and toddlers (birth to age 3) who have delays in development.

Early intervention is a system of services that helps infants and toddlers with or at risk for developmental delays or disabilities. Early intervention focuses on helping the caregivers of eligible infants and toddlers learn how to support their child learn the basic and brand-new skills that typically develop during the first three years of life, such as: physical (reaching, rolling, crawling, and walking); cognitive (thinking, learning, solving problems); communication (talking, listening, understanding); social/emotional (playing, feeling secure and happy); and self-help (eating, dressing).

Iowa's Part C early intervention system is known as Early ACCESS.  Early ACCESS is for families with infants and toddlers who have a:

  • health or physical condition affecting their growth & development, or
  • delay in their ability to play, think, hear, see, eat, talk or move.

Click here to be taken to the Eligibility section of this website or here to read about Iowa's Early ACCESS eligibility crirteria.

The Early ACCESS system is guided by its vision, mission and key princples. 

Early ACCESS Vision: Every infant and toddler with or at risk for a developmental delay and their families will be supported and included in their communities so that the children will be healthy and successful.

Early ACCESS Mission: Early ACCESS builds upon and provides supports and resources to assist family members and caregivers to enhance children’s learning and development through everyday learning opportunities.

Early ACCESS Key Principles*:

  1.  Infants and toddlers learn best through everyday experiences and interactions with familiar people in familiar contexts.
  2.  All families, with the necessary supports and resources, can enhance their children’s learning and development.
  3.  The primary role of a service provider in early intervention is to work with and support family members and caregivers in children’s lives.
  4.  The early intervention process, from initial contacts through transition, must be dynamic and individualized to reflect the child’s and family members’ preferences, learning styles and cultural beliefs.
  5.  IFSP outcomes must be functional and based on children’s and families’ needs and family-identified priorities.
  6. The family’s priorities, needs and interests are addressed most appropriately by a primary provider who represents and receives team and community support.
  7.  Interventions with young children and family members must be based on explicit principles, validated practices, best available research, and relevant laws and regulations.

*Workgroup on Principles and Practices in Natural Environments, OSEP TA Community of Practice: Part C Settings. (2008, March). Agreed upon mission and key principles for providing early intervention services in natural environments.

You can also access a PDF version of  the Early ACCESS Vision, Mission & Principle Handout.