How Does My Child Qualify For ECI Services
ECI provides evaluations, at no cost to families, to determine eligibility and the need for services. Income is not a factor in determining eligibility. Eligibility is determined by a team of at least two professionals from different disciplines. ECI determines eligibility for infants and toddlers living in Texas who are birth to 36 months of age based on:
Medically diagnosed condition
- A child who has a medically diagnosed condition that has a high probability of resulting in developmental delay qualifies for ECI. HHSC has a list of diagnosis that are medically qualifying. Medical records must be provided to confirm the diagnosis.
Auditory or visual impairment
- A child who has an auditory or visual impairment as defined by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) qualifies for ECI. This determination is made by a team led by certified staff from the local independent school district.
- A child who has a developmental delay of at least 25% which affects functioning in one or more areas of development, including cognition, communication, gross or fine motor, social-emotional or adaptive/self-help qualifies for ECI. If the only delay is expressive language development, there must be a 33% to qualify.
A comprehensive evaluation is used to find out the nature and extent of the child’s abilities, delays or difficulties, and to determine whether a child is eligible for early intervention services. The team uses an evaluation instrument known as the Battelle Developmental Inventory (2nd edition; BDI-2) to gather information in each of the developmental areas noted above. The BDI-2 is a norm-referenced tool, which means it assesses functioning compared to developmental norms based on other infants and toddlers. As part of the evaluation, the team will observe the child, ask the child to do things and talk to the parent about the child’s abilities.
The comprehensive evaluation may also include information from other sources, such as reviews of a child’s medical and developmental history, and interviews with parents, other primary caregivers, and medical providers.
If found eligible according to any of the three criteria noted above, an assessment is then conducted. Assessment refers to procedures that are used throughout the time a child is in early intervention to:
- identify a child’s unique strengths and needs, and
- determine what services are necessary to meet those needs.
Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), evaluations and assessments are provided at no cost to parents.
If you child is older than the age of 3, he or she might be eligible for services from your local school district. The Texas Education Agency can provide you with information about special education services. A referral for assessment may be made by contacting the director of special education at your local school district.