• Article

A national look at children and families entering early intervention

The National Early Intervention Longitudinal Study (NEILS) is the first study of PartC of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) early intervention system with a na-tionally representative sample of infants and toddlers with disabilities. This article presents na-tional estimates of characteristics of infants and toddlers and their families at the time they enteredthe early intervention (EI) system. The variability in children in EI is marked by high proportionsof children from low-income families, ethnic minorities, those in foster care, and males. Nearly onethird (32%) are low birth weight, four times the rate in the general population. Infants and tod-dlers in EI are eight times more likely to be rated as having fair or poor general health. Childrenenter at all ages across the first 3 years of life, but those eligible because of developmental delaysenter as toddlers, in comparison with those eligible because of diagnosed conditions or subject to bi-ological or environmental risk factors, who tend to enter in the first year of life. The variability ofthe infants and toddlers in EI indicates that there is no typical child in EI.Exceptional Children


Scarborough, A., Spiker, D., Mallik, S., Hebbeler, K., Bailey, D., & Simeonsson, RJ. (2004). A national look at children and families entering early intervention. Exceptional Children, 70(4), 469-483.