Daily routines and playtimes provide opportunities for all children to learn. This blog explores practical ways that caregivers and professionals can promote child development.

mom and child

Build Skills When Exploring Outdoors

Outside play is a wonderful opportunity to work on early intervention (EI) outcomes. Talk with your EI team about strategies and activities that may be especially useful for your family as you work on your EI outcomes.
dad and toddler girl

You Are What Your Child Needs

You are what your child needs.He needs a loving caregiver who wants to help him grow. Every time you interact with your child by talking, playing, and doing daily tasks, you are building your child’s brain and helping his body become stronger and more skillful.
mom interacting with toddle son

Positive Talk Builds Confidence

Positive talk is not only beneficial for babies and toddlers. Positive talk and positive thinking also are important for parents and caregivers of children receiving early intervention services.
sister and brother

Siblings as Role Models for Children With Disabilities

Families and their EI teams can plan ways to help siblings play and grow together. By involving siblings in the goals of individualized family support plans (IFSPs), all children—including the child with a disability—may benefit.
Full paper bag of different health food.

Food to Grow

We, as parents, want our children to have it all. We want health and happiness for them. While there are some things that we cannot control, we can make the choice early in our children’s lives to provide a variety of food options that will provide the building blocks to build a healthy mind and body.
boy eating

Handling Picky Eaters

Picky eating is a common challenge families encounter.Picky eating is also a common cause of worry and tension for parents and caregivers who may worry about whether young children are getting the nutrition they need to grow and thrive.
child clinging to parent's arm

Answering Questions About Your Child’s Disabilities

Have you ever felt that people judge you, look at you differently, or comment on your parenting when your child starts screaming in the grocery store because they don’t know how to communicate their needs or because the noise is too overwhelming? If you’ve ever been upset or felt like screaming “Are you serious?”, take a deep breath. These moments can be opportunities for you to educate other parents or advocate for yourself.
dad and young girl

You Are Your Child’s Best Advocate

As an expert on your child, you already are your child’s best advocate. You should feel confident in expressing your concerns to professionals. Indeed, you know your child better than anyone else.
dad and child at table

Plan Ahead to Prevent Tantrums and Meltdowns During the Holidays

Planning for challenging moments can help make your holiday times more pleasant. Help your child prepare for the routine and schedule changes that accompany the holidays by using a variety of strategies to help your child understand what is going to happen.
mom reading to child

The Role of the Service Coordinator in Early Intervention

A service coordinator works in partnership with the family—from initial referral through transition out of early intervention—to help the family gain access to the early intervention system, identify supports and services that meet the family’s needs, and understand the family’s rights and procedural safeguards.
teacher and young student

How to Build Strong Family-Professional Partnerships

It is important for early intervention (EI) professionals and families to partner with one another. When professionals and families partner with each other, children make greater progress.
father holds son as he pretends to talk on toy phone

Play and Learn Indoors

Planning for indoor play can help keep children busy and engaged. Look at your home space and consider all the possibilities for play and learning.
When I’m 3, Where Will I Be?

When I’m 3, Where Will I Be?

When I’m 3, Where Will I Be? is the transition workbook developed by parents and professionals in Illinois to provide information to families who are preparing for the transition out of early intervention services to possibly receiving services through their local school district.
Sleeping baby

Bedtime Mindfulness Activities

Bedtime meditations can be very helpful to calm down the nervous system and decrease a child’s level of stress hormones.
child looking out of crib

Healthy Sleep Helps All

Exhausted parents and caregivers tire of fighting the bedtime battle. However, the rewards for persistently building a healthy sleep routine are worth the fight. Turn to your early intervention team for guidance and support to find a routine that works well for your family.
Handling Stress in Times of Crisis

Handling Stress in Times of Crisis

In this article, we suggest ways to cope with stress. Notably, each person is different and may resonate with different coping mechanisms—that is alright! The purpose of this list is for you to find the coping strategy that works best for you.
child with butterfly

Let’s Move!

Infants and toddlers are people on the move! These are some of the ways infants and toddlers demonstrate their gross motor, or large movement skills.
Planning for Early Intervention During COVID-19

Planning for Early Intervention During COVID-19

The Bureau of Early Intervention has created a team of stakeholders, including families, to develop a plan for early intervention during COVID-19.
drawing of open door

COVID-19 Resources from Illinois Early Learning

With COVID-19, our daily routines and activities have greatly changed. Here are some resources that our sister project, Illinois Early Learning (IEL), has created to support families of young children.
young girl with glasses next to a pile of books

Family Reading Time

Did you know that reading your child a book, magazine, or newspaper in front of your child makes an impression on them?
mom with child talking with teacher
coronavirus

FAQ about Transition from Early Intervention (EI) to School Services during COVID-19

TransitionGuidance-Family-Document-10-9Download TransitionGuidance-Family-Document-Spanish-10-9Download Frequently Asked Questions about Transitioning from Early Intervention (EI) to School Services during COVID-19 At age 3, children
Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) and Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE)
mom interacting with young child
coronavirus

Family Update on EI during COVID-19

The Early Intervention Clearinghouse provides an update for families about early intervention services in Illinois during COVID-19.
Dr. Meghan Burke
child holding hand
coronavirus

Social-Emotional Supports for Children and Families During COVID-19

This emotional well-being tool kit includes a video introduction and ways to communicate with children about COVID-19.
Re-Open Illinois EI Workgroup
Frequently Asked Questions About Resuming In-Person EI Services for Families

Frequently Asked Questions About Resuming In-Person EI Services for Families

The Bureau of Early Intervention has worked with stakeholders to determine how to best resume in-person (face-to-face) services during COVID-19.
Re-Open Illinois EI Workgroup
Family Update on EI during COVID-19
coronavirus

Family Update on EI during COVID-19

The Early Intervention Clearinghouse provides an update for families about early intervention services in Illinois during COVID-19.
Dr. Meghan Burke
dad baby laptop
coronavirus

Frequently Asked Questions about Live Video Visits for Families

The Bureau of Early Intervention has worked with stakeholders to share frequently asked questions and answers for families who are considering live video visits for EI
Re-Open Illinois EI Workgroup
two women talking face to face

Working with EI Service Providers

A child’s parents are the most important people in their life.
Dr. Meghan Burke
father holds son as he pretends to talk on toy phone

Playing to Learn

Find activities you and your child already enjoy together.
Jenna Weglarz-Ward
mother reading to child

Encouraging Language Development

You can help your child develop language and literacy skills during regular activities without needing special time each day.
Sarah Isaacs
mother comforts child with head on her lap

Providing Trauma-Informed Supports

The Early Childhood Collective (ECC) has a list of resources for training to increase awareness for everyone in this vital work with young children. For the list, see the collective’s Trauma and Neglect resource bundle.
Dr. Meghan Burke
signpost

Social Workers’ Roles in Early Intervention

As part of our series of stories on different members of early intervention teams, we asked a number of licensed clinical social workers (LCSW) about their work with families in early intervention (EI).
parent liaisons talking to other parents

Parent Liaisons in Early Intervention: What Is a Parent Liaison?

A parent liaison works with local Child and Family Connections offices to help families with questions. All parent liaisons have experienced raising a child with special needs.
The Role of Nutrition in Early Intervention

The Role of Nutrition in Early Intervention

Feeding, weight gain, and diet are consistently high on parent’s priority list for their infant/child and can be a source of stress when they feel unable to meet these needs on an ongoing basis. We now know that nutrition is the biggest environmental influence in an infant and young child’s brain development.
parent and child reading

Tech Talk

Today, parenting means finding a balance between time spent on devices and screen-free time. This isn’t so different from days
Dr. Meghan Burke
mother and child

Planning for Summer

The summer can be a fun and challenging time. It can be liberating to not have school or daily routines.
Dr. Meghan Burke
boy and girl playing with puppets

Siblings as Role Models for Children With Disabilities

The sibling relationship is often the longest lasting family connection.
Dr. Meghan Burke
child peeking head out of box

You Have Everything You Need: Using Household Items for Early Intervention

You play an important role in your child’s everyday experiences. You help your child grow stronger through play.
Hsiu-Wen Yang
mom and son playing with blocks

What’s the Difference Between Physical and Occupational Therapies in Early Intervention?

Many people wonder what the difference is between a physical therapist (PT) or an occupational therapist (OT) working with babies and small children. The difference really depends on the age of the child and the child’s motor skills.
mom and dad (holding baby)

What Is a Developmental Therapist?

A developmental therapist works closely with families and additional members of a child’s team, including the service coordinator, to ensure that the services provided are appropriate to a family’s needs and desires.

The developmental therapist participates in the assessment process, assists in the development of the individualized family service plan (IFSP), and communicates services and strategies to all team members.

mom and child playing with large ball toy

What Is Bagless Early Intervention?

Bagless intervention encourages providers to focus on routines, activities, and materials that are familiar to the child when addressing IFSP outcomes. When service providers use toys or everyday items already available in a family’s home, parents may participate more in early intervention and engage in similar activities with the child even when the service provider is not present.