For Physicians

As a healthcare professional, families look to you for guidance regarding their children’s growth and development. ECI 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.
  • 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 for appropriate developmental follow-up.

Are you aware there is a Federal Regulation stating that referrals should be made in a timely manner?

Federal Regulation CFR Sec. 303.303 of Title 34 (Education) requires primary referral sources to refer children under age three to ECI as soon as possible, but no longer than seven days of identifying a child with a delay or eligible medical diagnosis. This regulation also specifies that all children who are the subject of a substantiated case of child abuse or neglect or who have been identified as being directly affected by illegal substance abuse or withdrawal symptoms resulting from prenatal drug exposure be referred by all primary referral sources.

Primary referral sources held to this regulation are considered to be the following:

  1. Hospitals, including prenatal and postnatal facilities
  2. Physicians
  3. Parents, including parents of infants and toddlers
  4. Child care programs and early learning programs
  5. LEAs and schools
  6. Public health facilities
  7. Other public health or social service agencies
  8. Other clinics and health care providers
  9. Public agencies and staff in the child welfare system
  10. Homeless family shelters to include domestic violence shelter

For additional information, visit the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

The intent of this regulation is to ensure that every family which may need services have information about the availability of the government-funded program as soon as a delay or disability is identified. There are Barriers to Utilization of Early Childhood Intervention Services in the Texas Mexico Border Region that primary care providers can help to overcome. Timely referrals with thoughtful explanations to the family can make all of the difference in the child getting the services they need. For more information about Early Intervention Collaboration for Best Practices and Best Outcomes click here.

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: