Early intervention

Early intervention is specialised support for young children who have a disability or learning support needs and their families.

The early intervention programs run by the department offer support class sessions and resource support to children in mainstream early childhood centres. They also offer itinerant support teachers (early intervention) who help with transition support.

You may be able to apply for a place for your child in an Early Intervention program from when they are aged 3 to when they start school, if they have a confirmed disability.

Early Intervention classes

The NSW Department of Education provides some early intervention for children before they start school. Most early intervention is provided by other professionals and agencies outside the department.

You can apply for a place in an early intervention support class, or resource support, from when your child is three until when they start school.

If your child attends an early intervention support class, it is recommended that they also attend a mainstream early childhood education program. Supporting successful inclusion for your child is an important focus of the early intervention program.

Early intervention classes provide individualised learning programs to groups of five to eight children during school terms, with children usually attending 2.5 hour sessions two or three days a week.

They also offer resource support, where the early intervention teacher works to support meaningful inclusion for your child in a mainstream childcare or preschool.

The department runs 47 early intervention support classes at 43 government schools across NSW. You can also find a list of mainstream schools and Schools for Specific Purposes with specialist support classes at the Datahub.

If you believe that your child would benefit from attending an Early Intervention class, your first point of contact is your local public school. They will be able to tell you more about how to enrol your child and what the process is. Access to the department's early intervention program is allocated through an access request.

Two preschool aged children engaging in a craft activity.
Image: Supporting successful inclusion for your child is an important focus of the early intervention program.

Itinerant support teachers

There are a small number of itinerant support teachers who provide support to teachers of young children with disability or significant support needs and their families.

There are also itinerant support teachers hearing or vision, who can help your child if they have a confirmed hearing or vision loss from the age of their diagnosis.

To find out more about itinerant support teachers and if your child would be eligible for this support, you can contact your local public school.

NDIS Early Childhood Partners

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) Partners deliver early intervention supports for children aged 0-6 years.

They may connect you with appropriate local support services, provide short-term early intervention, and help you request access to the NDIS for long-term early intervention services.

If your local primary school believes that your child might benefit from this support or an individual NDIS funding package, they will talk to you about how you can apply to access these supports.

Some children and young people with disability may benefit from allied health and specialist therapies, such as physiotherapy, speech pathology and occupational therapy. In most cases, these therapies can be delivered at home or in a therapist’s office. Some therapies may be best delivered in school during school time.

Schools work with both parents and allied health providers to meet the needs of students and support their learning and development. This may include sharing information about the student and what activities might work best to support them. In some cases, where it is suitable, this may mean working directly with the provider in the classroom.

You can make this request to your local school principal, and discuss your proposal with them. The principal will make decisions that ensure that the school is able to run to benefit all students and without disrupting learning. The principal will manage any services that come into the school in a way that supports children to continue to take part in classes and school activities.

You can also speak with speak with a doctor, child health nurse or other health professional, call the National Disability Insurance Agency on 1800 800 110, visit your local NDIS partner or visit the NDIS website to find out more.

Other early intervention support

The programs that we offer are only a small part early intervention programs available for your child in NSW, which are also provided by other government and non-government agencies.

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