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Program Details

Grant Program: Early Intervention and Early Learning
Contact: Dr. Amy Sussman
(202) 245-7424

The Early Intervention and Early Learning in Special Education (Early Intervention) topic supports research that contributes to the improvement of developmental outcomes and school readiness of infants, toddlers, and young children (from birth through age 5) with or at risk for disabilities.

More than one million infants, toddlers, and young children (birth through 5 years old) receive early intervention or early childhood special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, according to the Office of Special Education Programs, representing a 17% increase in infants and toddlers and 7% increase in preschoolers over the last 10 years. As the population of children who receive early intervention services increases, more research is needed to determine the most effective practices, programs, and systems, including assessments for screening and monitoring progress, for improving child outcomes and ultimately success in school.

Early Intervention was among the first topics to be competed within the National Center for Special Education Research. It is the only topic among the IES Research Centers to support research on infants and toddlers. Child outcomes investigated under this topic cover a wide range of developmental and learning outcomes that are important for preparing young children with or at risk for disabilities for entering school. These outcomes include cognition, communication, language, social-emotional skills, behavior (including adaptive and functional behavior), physical development, and pre-academic skills (e.g., early literacy, early mathematics). Research supported by this topic takes place in a range of settings, including preschools, homes, and community settings, as well as with a variety of providers, including early interventionists, teachers, related services providers, and parents.

Since 2006, NCSER has invested over $160 million in the Early Intervention program to support research projects across four research goals.

Exploration Projects
Development and Innovation Projects
Efficacy and Replication Projects
Measurement Projects