Special Education » Early Intervention Identification

Early Intervention Identification

In Pennsylvania, a child between three years of age and the school district’s age to begin school who has a developmental delay or one or more of the physical or mental conditions listed above, will be identified as an “eligible young child.” The parents of these children have the same rights described above.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education is responsible for providing programs and services to eligible young children under Act 212 of 1990, the Early Intervention Services System Act. Screening for preschool children is available through the Child Alert Program operated by Intermediate Unit #7. To Schedule an appointment for screening call 724-836-2460. For additional information, contact Denise Lohr, Early Intervention Administrator, Westmoreland Intermediate Unit #7 at 724-219-2312.


A Developmental Delay is determined by the results of a developmental evaluation. The results of one or more domain areas (Adaptive, Personal-Social, Communication, Motor or Cognitive) have to show at least a 25% delay or a score of 1.5 standard deviations below the mean (Standard Score of 77 or below). The delay results in the need for specially designed intervention/instruction (SDI) in order to participate in typical activities and routines.

Children with a developmental delay may show weaknesses in the following areas:
Adaptive – Pre-Kindergarten aged children with a developmental delay may have difficulty dressing/undressing; using utensils to eat; removing shoes without assistance; distinguishing between nonfood/food substances; or have difficulty with toileting needs. One may have difficulty moving independently around the house; understanding that hot is dangerous; putting away toys when asked; indicating an illness or ailment to an adult; or demonstrating caution and avoiding common dangers.

Personal-Social – Pre-Kindergarten aged children with a developmental delay may have difficulty responding positively to adult praise, rewards or promise of rewards; greeting familiar adults spontaneously; enjoying simple stories read aloud; helping with simple household tasks; initiating social interaction with familiar adults; expressing affection/liking for peers; playing cooperatively with peers; stating first name, last name, age, or whether he is a male/female; using objects in make-believe play; using ‘I’ or ‘me’ to refer to himself; or recognizing facial expressions of common emotions.

Communication - Pre-Kindergarten aged children with a developmental delay may have difficulty following 2-step verbal commands; associating spoken words with pictures; recalling events from a story presented orally; engaging in extended and meaningful nonverbal exchanges with others; using words to get his needs met; responding to ‘yes’ and ‘no’ questions appropriately; or asking ‘wh’ questions.

Motor - Pre-Kindergarten aged children with a developmental delay may have difficulty running without falling; kicking a ball without falling; walking up and down steps alternating feet without assistance; walking backward; imitating the bilateral movements of an adult; pointing with his index finger independent of the thumb and other fingers; scribbling linear and/or circular patterns spontaneously; using the pads of fingertips to grasp a pencil; holding a paper with one hand while drawing or writing with the other hand; fastening clothing without assistance; cutting with scissors; copying a circle; or imitating vertical and horizontal markings.

Cognitive - Pre-Kindergarten aged children with a developmental delay may have difficulty attending to one activity for 3 or more minutes; reciting memorized lines from songs or TV shows; showing interest in age-appropriate books; matching/naming colors; responding to one and one more; giving three objects on request; matching shapes; identifying objects by their use; identifying items by size; identifying colors of familiar objects not in view; or identifying simple objects by touch.