Early Intervention - Number of children receiving Early Intervention services in Pennsylvania

Change Indicator

Why This Indicator Matters

Early Intervention (EI) describes the services and supports available to families with young children who experience developmental delays and disabilities.[1] Such services can include speech therapy, physical therapy, or family counseling, but vary depending on the individual needs and strengths of each child and their family.[2]  The Pennsylvania Early Intervention program is available for children from birth to age five and is a state funded network consisting of parents, service practitioners, and other relevant professionals.[3] Pennsylvania’s EI program is designed to meet the developmental needs of one or more of the following areas: physical development, cognitive development, communication development, social-emotional development, and adaptive development. EI is incredibly important for children with delays or disabilities, as it can have a significant impact on their developmental trajectories. Research suggests that intervention is likely to be more effective when it is provided early in life because it helps improve children’s abilities to learn new skills and prevents them from significantly falling behind their peers as they get older.[4] EI has also been associated with numerous other positive longitudinal outcomes, including improved relationships and behaviors, increased academic achievement and attainment, reduced delinquency and criminality, and improved labor market success.[5] Increasing numbers of children receiving EI services in Pennsylvania over the past decade are likely due to program expansions as well as diagnosis improvements.


[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). What is “Early Intervention”? https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/parents/states.html

[2] Pennsylvania Department of Education. (2022). Early Intervention. https://www.education.pa.gov/Early%20Learning/Early%20Intervention/Pages/default.aspx

[3] The Pennsylvania Key. (2018). Early Intervention. https://www.pakeys.org/getting-started/ocdel-programs/early-intervention/

[4] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022). Why Act Early? https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/whyActEarly.html

[5] The Children’s League. (2022). Benefits of Early Intervention. https://www.tclny.org/benefits-of-early-intervention

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Early Intervention - Number of children receiving Early Intervention services

Data Provided By

Definitions: The number of children (birth until school enrollment) receiving early intervention (EI) services.  EI is designed to assist children with developmental delays or disabilities before they enter school.  The number is the sum of children in Infant-Toddler EI (Birth-2yr) and Preschool EI (3-5yr).

Data Source: Pennsylvania Departments of Education and Human Services, Office of Child Development and Early Learning.

Footnotes: Children who transition from Infant-Toddler EI to Preschool EI during the fiscal year may be counted twice.

Updated September 2021.