Early intervention

Early intervention programs

Early Intervention is support provided for young children who have a disability or learning support need to promote their development and meaningful participation in all aspects of their life. The NSW Department of Education early intervention programs are a small component of the total provision of early intervention in NSW and complement programs provided by other government and non-government agencies.

Early intervention support classes

The department operates 47 early intervention support classes at 43 government schools across NSW. They operate during school terms to provide a preschool program for children with a confirmed disability. Children with a disability from 3 years of age to school entry are eligible to apply.

The early intervention programs operated by the department recognise early childhood as a vital period for learning and development and support the principles, practices and outcomes of the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF).

They provide two main support program options:

  • Early intervention support class - Support classes provide individualised learning programs in a class of five to eight children. Children usually attend for 2.5 hour sessions, two or three days a week
  • Early Intervention resource support - Resource support is a collaborative approach where the early intervention teacher travels to the child's regular childcare centre or preschool and works with the child and the staff at that centre.

Both programs include working with parents and other professionals to meet the individual needs of each child and to plan for a successful transition to school.

Access to the department's early intervention program is through the access request and placement panel process.

Itinerant support teachers Early Intervention

A limited number of itinerant support teachers, early intervention, provide support to young children with disability or significant support needs, their families and personnel working with these children, in prior to school settings and schools.

Itinerant support teachers support the development of:

  • individualsed, coordinated and systematic transition to school or to early intervention
  • links with other agencies and the community
  • personalised learning and support for children in prior to school settings and/or the first year of school

Other prior to school support

itinerant support teachers hearing or vision support children who have a confirmed hearing or vision loss from age of diagnosis.

  • Preschool classes in regular schools are for all children, including those with disabilities and additional learning and support needs.
  • Additional support for these children to be meaningfully included in the preschool is available through the school's learning and support resource allocations and via funding made available through School Services to employ additional teachers or School Learning Support Officers (SLSO's).

Further information and support

Parents should approach the principal of their local public school regarding application for departmental early intervention services. For additional support contact the local school services team from anywhere in NSW on 131 536.

Early Childhood Intervention Australia is the peak national organisation for early childhood intervention in Australia.

Parentline has an early childhood intervention infoline service for families who are concerned about their child's development or who have a child diagnosed with a disability. It is also a resource for professionals working with families of children with additional needs. Support is available by calling 1300 1300 52 from anywhere in NSW.

The Australian parenting website, Raising Children, has information on early intervention for children with a disability.

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