Early intervention

Early intervention is specialised support provided for young children who have a disability or learning support need and their families. It promotes each child’s development and meaningful participation in all aspects of their life and represents a small component of the total provision of early intervention in NSW.

Early intervention support classes

A limited number of early intervention support classes are located in NSW public 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. There are two main support programs provided by early intervention

  • Early intervention support class sessions 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 is a collaborative approach where the early intervention teacher works with the child's regular childcare centre or preschool to support the child and the staff at that centre.

In some areas, the early intervention support class may run programs such as a supported playgroup in response to local need. All programs include working with parents, other early childhood educators and other professionals to meet the individual needs of each child and to plan for a successful transition to school.

Transition support teachers

A limited number of transition support teachers (early intervention) support strong and successful transitions for children below school age who have a disability or learning support need. They work with local schools and with families, other professionals and agencies to support the transition to department early intervention or to school.

Policy guidance

The Early intervention operational guidelines 2021 provide information about the operation of early intervention support classes and transition support teachers, early intervention.

Image: Early intervention operational guidelines

Access to early intervention support

Access to early intervention classes and resource support occurs through the placement panel process.

Access to transition support teachers (early intervention) is via referral from the local schools, early childhood education service, early intervention providers, and allied health or therapy services.

Parents and carers should contact their local public school or their local delivery support team to facilitate these processes.

Local teams can be contacted on 131 536 and calls can be made from anywhere in NSW.

As the department works in close consultation with a range of early childhood services, other agencies may also refer parents and carers to our schools.

Department preschools

The department operates 101 preschools across NSW. Children with disability or additional learning and support needs can access department preschools on the same basis as all children.

Additional support for children with disability or support needs to be meaningfully included in the preschool and is available through the school's learning and support resource allocations. Where a child has a disability and moderate to severe support needs, the school may also access additional funding made available through the local delivery support team. Children can enrol and access support in a department preschool and also access department early intervention support.

Resources for schools

Further information and support

  • Parents should approach the principal of their local public school regarding application for department early intervention services. For additional support contact the local delivery support team from anywhere in NSW on 131 536.
  • Reimagine Australia, formerly known as Early Childhood Intervention Australia (ECIA), is the peak national organisation for early childhood intervention in Australia.
  • Parent Line has an early childhood intervention info line 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 for families on early intervention for children with a disability.
  • The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a good place to start to organise early intervention. Parents of children 0-6 years old who may be worried about their child’s development, can seek early intervention support through the NDIS even if they don’t have a formal diagnosis of disability.
  • Early Childhood Australia inclusion resources

Online connections

Contact information

If you require further information or support you can contact the early learning team via phone on 1300 083 698 or email earlylearning@det.nsw.edu.au

Return to top of page Back to top