ECI encourages families not to take a "wait and see" approach to a child's development. A referral to ECI can be based on professional judgment or a family's concern. A medical diagnosis or a confirmed developmental delay is not needed to refer. As soon as a delay is suspected, children may be referred to ECI, even as early as birth.

To refer a child, from birth to three, call the HHS Office of the Ombudsman at 1-877-787-8999, select a language, and then select Option 3. You can also submit your request online. For the hearing impaired call, please use the relay option of your choice or dial 7-1-1 to connect with Relay Texas. To find an ECI program in your area, go to the ECI Program Search.

The DARS Inquiries Line staff provide callers with the name of a local program which works under the ECI umbrella. In addition to giving callers information about referrals and local ECI programs, operators also: provide general information about ECI; help families locate information about disabilities; provide referral information to early intervention programs in other states; and take publication orders.

Once a referral is made to an ECI program, the family is contacted by an ECI staff person to discuss the reasons for the referral. After gathering the initial information, a decision is made about whether to proceed with an interdisciplinary evaluation and assessment. The family is very involved and a key team member in the evaluation and assessment process. If the child is eligible for ECI services, the team develops an Individualized Family Services Plan (IFSP).

For children and young adults, ages three to 21, services are available through the local school district. A referral for assessment may be made. This may lead to individualized testing for children and young adults who may require specialized assistance and/or support. To begin this process, contact the director of special education at the local school district. The telephone number can be found in the white pages of the phone book or through the Texas Education Agency website.

Information for Health and Medical Professionals Referring to ECI