By: Carmen Willings
Updated November 4, 2017
Early Intervention services are similar to school-age special education services but are for children ages birth through two. Early Intervention is a system of services and supports designed to help families care for and encourage the development of their infants and toddlers (birth to 36 months of age) with disabilities.
Infants who are blind cannot observe the actions of others or see objects and materials around them. Even babies with some usable vision will have difficulty making sense of the limited visual information they are receiving. Additionally, they are not able to see the effects of their own actions on objects, that the object continues to exist when out of reach (object permanence), or observe how others interact with the object. This page provides strategies for providing rich experiences to infants and toddlers that are blind or visually impaired.
Students with visual impairments need will often need extra help in exploring new toys and materials. This page provides suggestions for introducing toys.
Loss of vision can affect all areas of development. Learn more about the impact on development and learning including Lowenfeld Losses and Maslow's Hierarchy on this page.
Vision helps to provide meaning to language. Students with visual impairments need many hands-on experiences with real objects paired with auditory labels and descriptions and a rich literacy environment (print and/or braille depending on the student's unique needs). This page discusses some of these common difficulties and strategies.
Public Law 99-457, the Early Intervention Program for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities Act, established the initial federal funding and guidelines for Early Intervention services. Enacted in 1986, PL 99-457 became what is now known as Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
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