Children’s early years are full of excitement and change, as they start developing and learning from the very moment they are born. This is just as true for children with developmental delays and disabilities as it is for their more typically developing peers. Over the past decade, advances in brain research have provided great insight into how the brain continues to grow and develop. It is now clear that children’s early childhood experiences can profoundly influence how their brain will develop and how they will interact with the world around them. The period birth through age five is especially crucial. Early intervention and education builds on the natural learning occurring during the first few years of life. The supports and services provided through early intervention and preschool special education can help children make the powerful connections to improve their ability to learn and play. With the right system of support services during this time, children with disabilities enjoy an important head start for gaining critical school readiness skills needed to succeed in kindergarten and throughout their lives.
In this section of the site, you will learn about Maryland’s early childhood intervention and special education system of services. These services are all based on the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which ensure that all children with disabilities have the opportunity to receive a free and appropriate education (FAPE) to support their unique development and learning needs. The evidence has shown that one of the most effective ways to achieve this mandate is to reach children with developmental delays and disabilities when they are very young. Early intervention and education helps to open the window of opportunity for young children with disabilities and their families.
MSDE Public Service Announcements
Often, parents observe differences in behaviors or skills and question if their observations are valid. Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services (DSE/EIS) created Public Service Announcements to help parents identify if their child, under the age of 3, is experiencing developmental delays.
Prematurity and Atypical Development Professional Learning Series
A website has been developed to house the information and materials needed for early intervention professional learning facilitators to deliver a 5-module training series to their staff on prematurity and atypical development. To access the site, click here.
This webinar provides an overview of the professional learning series. To view a recording of the webinar, click here.
Healthy Beginnings is a resource to help you nurture the tremendous potential for learning and growth that every child has… that every child is born with. Specifically designed for caregivers of infants and toddlers from birth through age three, Healthy Beginnings gives you knowledge and support around child care and child development. Our Activity Planner provides you with fun, developmentally appropriate activities that build young children’s skills and promote all kinds of learning.