All about Early Intervention (EI)
Babies who are diagnosed as deaf or hard of hearing will be referred to support and early intervention services (EI) which is a state agency that supports infants and toddlers and their families up to age. The EHDI program will link you to services that can help you in this process. The organizations listed in the next section will reach out to you to provide support and guidance.
Illinois Early Intervention Program
What is the purpose of this service?
To help children between the ages of birth to three with disabilities or delays, to learn and grow.
Who can receive these services?
Families with an eligible infant or toddler from birth to three years old.
What services are offered?
Infants and toddlers are evaluated to see if there is a delay in:
dealing with others,
If services are needed, an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) will be written to set goals and identify needs. The IFSP is written in accordance with a federal special education law called IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). Learn more about Special Education law:
Families, with the support of Early Intervention Providers, help their infants and toddlers reach their goals.
How to apply?
Find an Early Intervention Child and Family Connections office in your local area.
For more information visit the IL Department of Human Services Early Intervention
To read research-based and best-practice early intervention information visit the EI Clearinghouse.
Are you concerned about your child’s hearing, if you are you should talk with your child's pediatrician and ask for your child to have another hearing screening. Or find an Audiologist by visiting EHDI- PALS to find an audiologist near you, http://www.ehdi-pals.org/.
You can view the Center for Disease Control's Developmental Milestones to see if your child is on track developmentally.
For Families of Babies Diagnosed as Deaf or Hard of Hearing
We are able to provide you with support and resources from the start to help guide you through the process ahead. Upon your child's diagnosis, someone from the following organizations will reach out to you, feel free to contact them now if you haven't heard from them:
Visit our resource page for information to help you decide how your family wants to communicate with your baby. We will give your resources to learn about Listening and Spoken Language, American Sign Language, Cued Speech and Total Communication.
Is your child 2 and a half? There's a big transition on their 3rd birthday. We have lots of information to help you navigate this transtion. Check out our transitioning out of Early Intervention page.
If you feel you need assistance with your transition from Early Intervention to your School District, the IL School for the Deaf Outreach has a Special Education Advocate who can assist you for free! You can learn more at