In a recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Colorado School of Medicine, the criteria different states utilize to determine early intervention services for children with stalled development were observed as both diverse and broad with very little standardization. A developmental delay is defined by any significant and observable lag in an infant’s development, both mental and physical. This very lack of distinction could itself prove troubling.
The criteria observed are applied primarily for Part C Child Development services intervention. What makes this so tricky is that Child Development Services is an agency that is guided by both federal and state level regulations, much like medical marijuana legalization, so many practices lack standardization. Despite differing state level regulations, Part C Child Development Services maintains its general purpose and mission of providing applicable children with intervention services from birth to age two while encouraging active parent involvement.
Because current Part C service eligibility varies on the state level, Dr. Steven Rosenberg, decided to investigate the implications on a national level. What Dr. Rosenberg and his team observed was that many states make too many children with mild problems candidates, but have issues actually providing these services for those with moderate to severe developmental delays.
Dr. Rosenberg reflected on the shortcomings, "States need to look at the criteria they use to determine which infants and toddlers are eligible for early intervention. They need to ask themselves why they have such broad criteria when they can't serve all children under 3 years who have severe developmental delays. It may help for states to adopt more uniform eligibility criteria."