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The Goals of Early Intervention

According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (1989), the three goals are of early intervention is: 
1) Prevention: to hinder the occurrence of a communication disorder or delay by providing Early Intervention (EI) services to at-risk children and their families before an official diagnosis of a communication disorder is made. 

2) Remediation: to provide EI services to children and their families who have already been diagnosed with a communication disorder or delay to decrease the long term occurrence or adverse impact that the communication disorder could possibly have on children later in life. 

3) Compensation: to provide effective and functional communication strategies or intervention to children and their families with disabilities or impairment that is irreversible to increase the children’s quality of life. 

Click here for roles and responsibilities of the SLP in Early Intervention

How does Early Intervention Work?

In order for Early Intervention to work successfully the following elements must be considered: 

1) Natural Environment: Providing services in the child’s home, day care center, or early education programs to ensure the child and the primary care giver (parent, guardian, day care teacher, etc) are the focus of the intervention and that intervention is embedded in the child’s daily routine with people they see everyday. 

Structure of the Natural Environment: Considers family members in the home or significant people in the day care or education programs, considers family’s culture, values, beliefs or the educational objectives of the educational environment, and the setup of the home or early education program environment that shape how the child behaves, communicates, and responds to discipline.  

2) Daily Routine: Considers the family and the child’s daily activities. The daily routine highlights communication breakdown, helps to develop target goals and objectives, and is where early intervention services will be embedded to increase the child’s communication. 

3) Family Interactions: Families are at the center of early intervention because they provide the necessary models on a daily basis that children need to communicate more effectively. 

Click here for an article describing the Strategies to Enhance Family-Centered Services

What are the key techniques of Early Intervention (For Language Delay)?

Early Intervention, especially where language delay is involved, works best when the following techniques are learned, used, and established: 

1) Joint Attention Skills: When looking at pictures, reading books, or even just playing with children, especially those with, decreased vocabulary, it is important that the child engages or attends to an object, picture, or toy that the caregiver is talking about. This ensures that the child is listening and is able to receptively understand the object or picture being labeled and described. 

2) Turn-Taking: This is teaching children to respond to physical and verbal cues, which helps set the stage for adequate communicative exchange in which there is a speaker and a listener. For example, if the parent pushes the car to the child and says “vroom-vroom”, the parent waits for the child to respond by pushing the toy car back to them and imitating the sound. Some children need to be taught this skill explicitly to establish meaningful communicative exchange. 

3) Language Stimulation: The caregiver or care providers follows the child’s lead during play or in everyday activities and responds to the child’s actions by saying out loud what they are doing such as naming the item they are manipulating, talking about the action the child is performing with the object, and describing the physical characteristics of the object. All this is done while not requiring the child to respond or to say a specific word or sentence. Only stimulating their language and providing them with temptation to talk. 

4) Play Skills: how children discover and learn about objects, people and the world around them. Through play, children often show us what they understand about the world. Play is a good skill to teach speech and language concepts relevant to children’s everyday life, which will help them to become better communicators. 

Please look below to find forms and activities that will help you better understand and become a more active pariticipant ​in your child's early intervention services. 


A questionnaire for parents of infants or toddlers who are considering early intervention services for communication impairment. This helps parents to be active participants in the early intervention process by preparing them for questions and discussions that will occur during the initial IFSP meeting. This is also a good guide for beginning speech therapists that are new to working in the early intervention environment. 

Parental Guidelines for Family Centered Early Intervention Services-Communication


​First Words Picture Cards- (ages 1.5 and up)- Research based vocabulary words with pictures. Can be used with children that have significantly decreased vocabulary. Print on cardstock paper, laminate and cut for continual use. 

Let's Say Phrases: (ages 2 and up)- Short story book containing two word phrases with pictures. To be used with children with decreased sentence length. Print out on white cardstock paper, laminate, and staple the ends to make a nice book.

What Do I See? Pictures of items found around the house in the kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom. Gives child a chance to receptively identify and match pictures  to item while parents say the name of the pictures outloud and give the child a chance to repeat. 

​Pictures and Signs (age 1 and up)-Pictures and Signs is a picture book that can be used with toddlers to increase their ability to identify objects and name them. It is a good way to teach beginning communication skills through signing, which could lead to the use of one to two word phrases. This picture book contains a picture page and then a blank page. All pages need to be printed on card stock paper and laminated. Then cut the pictures from the picture page. Attach Velcro to the back of each picture and on the blank pages. Once pictures are cut, attach them to the blank page and then staple all the pages together to create a book.
Pictures and Signs DOWNLOAD

Initial /p/ phrases- Have your child repeat each phrase after you. Really put emphasis on the letters in red and blue font. These colored letters highlight sounds in the initial and final position. Also discuss the spatial and size concepts given with each word. 
Review often for increased articulation of /p/ and final consonant sounds and for increased understanding of basic language concepts.

​Initial /p/ phrases DOWNLOAD

 Articulation-Phonology Cards for /b/ and /p/-Over view

Broken and Blended Articulation-Phonology Cards were designed to target students with articulation and phonology problems. Sometimes articulation problems can lead to reading problems, which are phonological in nature. Also, students with reading problems are often mislead with words because they are not always spelled the way that they sound. 

Articulation-Phonology DOWNLOAD