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Early Childhood Intervention: Referrals

sleeping baby boy

Babies are unique little individuals. Some children may grow and develop new skills at a slower rate than other children their age. By getting help early, you can begin to help your child develop in ways that are appropriate for him or her.

The earlier children with disabilities and delays receive help, the better. Well-designed, timely early intervention can enhance the child’s development, provide support for the family, and provide long-term benefits for society. Positive outcomes for the child and family are directly related to early referral and timely intervention.

Babies and toddlers learn best in their homes and familiar places so this is where ECI Launch provides services. ECI Launch helps families learn ways to promote development and use intervention activities in their daily lives. ECI Launch services are delivered by a team of professionals who specialize in working with babies and toddlers.

ECI Launch services include: family education and support; service coordination; developmental services; audiology and vision services; nursing and nutrition services; and physical, occupational and speech-language therapies. Families and professionals work together to plan services based on the needs of the child and family.

ECI Launch determines eligibility for infants and toddlers based on:

Developmental delay

Children who are delayed in one or more of the following areas of development:

  • Cognitive: difficulty with playing, learning and thinking
  • Motor: gross, fine and oral
  • Communication: limited understanding or responses in communicating with others
  • Social-emotional: attachment problems, limited parent/family interactions or behavior concerns
  • Self-help skills: feeding

Atypical development

  • Children who may perform within their appropriate age range on test instruments, but whose patterns of development are different from their peers.
  • Atypical sensory-motor development: muscle tone, reflex or postural reaction responses, oral-motor skills and sensory integration
  • Atypical language or cognition: state regulation, attention span, perseveration, information processing
  • Atypical emotional or social patterns: social responsiveness, affective development, attachment patterns, and self-targeted behaviors

Medically diagnosed condition

  • Children who have a medically diagnosed condition with a high probability of developmental delay are automatically eligible for ECI Launch's services.
  • Review list of medical diagnoses
  • Children with auditory and/or vision concerns should be referred for eligibility determination.

Children under three years old are eligible if they have a developmental delay in one of the following areas: learning, movement, ability to talk, ability to understand and get along with others. Children are also eligible if they are determined to have atypical development such as abnormalities in behavior. Medically diagnosed conditions that are known to lead to developmental delay such as cerebral palsy, seizures, Down Syndrome, etc. also qualify a child for services.

You and your child are taking steps you may not have expected. But, your family is not alone. Many other families have taken these same steps.

Since 1981, Texas Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) has been helping families and their children who are delayed in their development. Some children need extra help growing and learning. Through the years, we have guided families along the way, helping babies and toddlers to reach their full potential.

Although each child is special and they develop at their own pace, it is important to remember that a baby's brain develops the fastest between birth and three years old. If you have a concern about your child's development please don't wait. Contact our local ECI Launch Child Find office at 534-6755 for a free developmental evaluation. The UTMB ECI Launch program looks forward to working with you and meeting your child.

Texas Early Hearing Detection & Intervention (TEHDI) Protocol
To ensure that all infants and toddlers with hearing loss are identified as early as possible and provided with timely and appropriate audiological, educational, and medical intervention, an early hearing detection and intervention (EHDI) program is essential. Here are some forms to assist in detection:

Download our forms
Download and fill out the forms below, then send via physical mail to our mailing address.

As a healthcare professional, families look to you for guidance regarding their children’s growth and development. ECI Launch wants to work with you so families find the supports and services they need as soon as a delay or disability is suspected.

Do you know that:

  • Early referral and timely intervention lead to more positive child and family outcomes.
  • Making an early referral is consistent with recommended practices and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Part C regulations.
  • A medical diagnosis or confirmed developmental delay is not necessary to refer to ECI Launch.
  • ECI Team members are trained to recognize very early indicators of atypical and delayed development. An ECI interdisciplinary team will conduct a comprehensive evaluation to determine eligibility, at no cost to families after a referral is made.
  • Children who have vision deficits or who have failed the universal newborn hearing screen should also be referred to ECI Launch for appropriate developmental follow-up.

Are you familiar with the ECI Two-Day Rule Regulation?
The Two-Day rule is part of federal (34 CFR Sec. 303.321) and state regulations (40 TAC Sec. 108.61) implementing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act which encourages states to provide services for infants and toddlers with disabilities and delays.  The Interagency Council on Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) funds local services throughout Texas.

Federal and state legislation require primary referral sources to refer children under age 3 to ECI for services within two working days of identifying a child with a delay. The Texas regulation states that “All primary referral sources must refer a child under age three who may be in need of and/or qualify for comprehensive early intervention services.  Referrals must be made within two working days of identification, and must be made to an ECI approved program for evaluation and assessment of the child.”

The intent of this regulation is to ensure that every family which made need services have information about the availability of the government-funded program as soon as a delay or disability is identified.

Download our forms
Download and fill out the forms below, then send via physical mail to our mailing address.

Texas Early Hearing Detection & Intervention (TEHDI) Protocol
To ensure that all infants and toddlers with hearing loss are identified as early as possible and provided with timely and appropriate audiological, educational, and medical intervention, an early hearing detection and intervention (EHDI) program is essential. Here are some forms to assist in detection:


UTMB's ECI Launch is part of a statewide program sponsored by the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services.