In California, a child younger than three years old is eligible for what the state calls “Early Start” services if, after assessment, he meets one of the following criteria:
- infants and toddlers with a developmental delay in one or more of the following five areas: cognitive development; physical and motor development including vision and hearing; communication development; social or emotional development; or adaptive development. Children with developmental delay are those who are determined to have a significant difference between the expected level of development for their age and their current level of functioning. This determination shall be made by qualified personnel who are recognized by (or part of) a multidisciplinary team, including the parents. “Significant difference” means a 33% delay in one or more developmental areas
- infants and toddlers with established risk conditions are children under 3 with conditions of “known etiology” (cause) or conditions with established harmful developmental consequences. The conditions shall be diagnosed by qualified personnel recognized by, or part of, a multidisciplinary team, including the parents. The condition shall be certified as having a high probability of leading to developmental delay if the delay is not evident at the time of diagnosis.
- infants and toddlers who are at high risk of having substantial developmental disability due to a combination of biomedical risk factors, the presence of which are diagnosed by qualified personnel recognized by, or part of, a multidisciplinary team, including the parents. [Cal. Gov. Code Sec. 95014(a).]