Early Help Makes a Difference!

You know your child best. Do you have concerns about the way your baby or toddler plays, learns, speaks, acts, or moves? Getting help early makes a difference! Refer your child to the New York State Early Intervention Program (EIP).

What Help is Available?

The New York State Early Intervention Program (EIP) provides services to eligible babies and toddlers under three years of age who are not developing like other children. You can refer your child for an evaluation. If your child qualifies for services, your local program will help you get them. There is no cost to families.

Services may include:

  • Speech-language, physical, and occupational therapies
  • Special instruction
  • Audiology (hearing) and vision services
  • Family support (social work, groups, training)

Which Children Need Early Help?

Any child under three years of age who may not be developing like other children due to a developmental delay, or a disability may need help.

A developmental delay means a child is behind in some area of development, such as growth, learning, thinking, or communicating.

A disability means that a child has a diagnosed physical or mental condition that affects their development.

New York State EIP services can be provided at home, at childcare, or anywhere your child spends their day. This will help you and your family:

  • Support and promote your child's growth
  • Include your child in family and community activities

Look at the "Checklist for Growing Children" for signs that your baby or toddler may need extra help. If you have concerns about your baby's development, the earlier you get help the better!

Checklist for Growing Children

Developmental Milestones are things most children can do by a certain age. Here’s what most children do by this age:

  • Calms down when spoken to or picked up |
  • Looks at your face |
  • Smiles when you talk to or smile at them |
  • Makes sounds other than crying |
  • Reacts to loud sounds |
  • Watches you as you move |
  • Looks at a toy for several seconds |
  • Holds head up when on tummy |
  • Moves both arms and both legs |
  • Opens and closes hands
  • Chuckles (not yet a full laugh) when you try to make them laugh |
  • Looks at you, moves, or makes sounds to get or keep your attention |
  • Makes sounds like "oooo" and "aahh" (cooing) |
  • Turns head towards the sound of your voice |
  • Makes squealing noises |
  • If hungry, opens mouth when they see breast or bottle |
  • Looks at their hands with interest |
  • Rolls over from stomach to back |
  • Holds head steady without support when you are holding them |
  • Holds a toy when you put it in their hand
  • Knows familiar people |
  • Likes to look at self in a mirror |
  • Turns toward the source of normal sound |
  • Blows "raspberries" (sticks tongue out and blows) |
  • Copies sounds you make |
  • Bangs small objects on a surface |
  • Reaches to grab a toy they want |
  • Closes lips to show they do not want more food |
  • Rolls over from back to stomach |
  • Sits up briefly without support |
  • Picks up small objects with whole hand |
  • Passes a toy from one hand to the other
  • Shows several facial expressions, like happy, sad, angry, and surprised |
  • Reacts when you leave (looks, reaches for you, or cries) |
  • Looks when you call their name |
  • Looks around when hearing things like, "Where is your blanket?" |
  • Makes different sounds like "mamamama" and "bababababa" |
  • Looks for objects when dropped out of sight (like their spoon or toy) |
  • Plays Peek-a-Boo and Pat-a-cake |
  • Crawls on hands and knees |
  • Sits without support |
  • Transitions between sitting and standing |
  • Let's go of objects intentionally |
  • Uses fingers to "rake" food toward themselves
  • Understands "no" (pauses briefly or stops when you say it) |
  • Waves bye-bye |
  • Follows directions with gestures, such as motioning and saying, "Give me (object)" |
  • Calls a parent "mama" or "dada" or another special name |
  • Puts something in a container, like a block in a cup |
  • Looks for things they see you hide, like a toy under a blanket |
  • Stands without support |
  • Walks, holds onto furniture (cruising) |
  • Picks up food and eats it |
  • Picks up small objects with pointer finger and thumb
  • Copies other children while playing, like taking toys out of a container when another child does |
  • Drinks from a cup without a lid and may spill sometimes |
  • Shows you affection (hugs, cuddles, or kisses you) |
  • Points to ask for something or to get help |
  • Uses 3 words other than names |
  • Tries to use things the right way, like a phone, cup, or book |
  • Looks around when you say things like, "Where's your ball?" or "Where's your blanket?" |
  • Crawls up stairs |
  • Squats to pick up objects |
  • Uses fingers to feed themself some food
  • Moves away from you, but looks to make sure you are close by |
  • Points to show you something interesting |
  • Helps you dress them, by pushing arm through sleeve or lifting their foot up |
  • Can identify 2 body parts |
  • Names at least 5 familiar objects |
  • Copies you doing chores, like sweeping with a broom |
  • Plays with toys in a simple way, like pushing a toy car |
  • Can throw a small ball while standing |
  • Walks up steps with 2 feet per step with their hand held |
  • Walks backwards |
  • Tries to use a spoon |
  • Scribbles |
  • Follows one-step directions without any gestures, like giving you the toy when you say "Give it to me"
  • Notices when others are hurt or upset, like pausing or looking sad when someone is crying |
  • Looks at your face to see how to react in a new situation |
  • Plays alongside other children |
  • Says at least two words together, like "More milk." |
  • Tries to use switches, knobs, or buttons on a toy |
  • Plays with more than one toy at the same time, like putting toy food on a toy plate (combines toys in play) |
  • Runs |
  • Walks (not climbs) up a few stairs with or without help |
  • Kicks a ball |
  • Eats with a spoon
  • Uses things to pretend, like feeding a block to a doll as if it were food |
  • Takes off some clothes by themself, like loose pants or an open jacket |
  • Names things in a book when you point and ask, "What is this?" |
  • Says two or more words together, with one action word, like "Doggie run" |
  • Shows they know at least one color, like pointing to a red crayon when you ask, "Which one is red?" |
  • Shows simple problem-solving skills, like standing on a small stool to reach something |
  • Follows two-step instructions like "Put the toy down and close the door." |
  • Runs well without falling |
  • Walks up steps using one foot, then the other |
  • Uses hands to twist things, like turning doorknobs or unscrewing lids |
  • Eats food with a fork |
  • Grasps a crayon with thumb and fingers instead of fist |
  • Says about 50 words

If your child is having trouble doing some of these things, it may put your mind at ease to talk to someone. Early help makes a difference! Talk with your doctor and call your local Early Intervention Program.

Early Help Makes a Difference! Brochure

A printable PDF version of The Early Help Makes a Difference! brochure is available.

Where Can Parents Get Help?

  • Contact the EIP in the county where you live to ask for help for your child.
  • Call the New York State "Growing Up Healthy" 24-hour Hotline at 1-800-522-5006 for the phone number of your county's EIP.
  • In New York City, call 311.

Learn more about the New York State EIP by visiting our website at: