Early Learning

The experiences of young children lay the foundation for their future growth and development.  A large body of research has demonstrated that high-quality early learning programs can positively impact a child’s cognitive, social-emotional, and physical development.  

For young children with disabilities or developmental delays and their families, the family-centered approach of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) early intervention and pre-school programs connects children and families with early interventionists, special educators, and related service providers to create and implement an individualized plan to support a child’s development.  

Research indicates that IDEA’s early learning programs are effective.  According to the federally funded Early Childhood Outcomes Center, approximately 70 percent of children participating in IDEA’s early intervention and preschool programs show greater than expected growth in key outcomes areas such as knowledge and skills and social relationships. Furthermore, approximately 60 percent of children receiving early intervention services exited the program functioning within age expectations in these key outcome areas.

CEC remains committed to actively advocating for policies that support child development and growth, from the earliest age, such as IDEA’s early intervention and preschool programs, in addition to other relevant policies.




Improving Outcomes for Children with Disabilities Through High-Quality Early Learning Programs