Texas Health Steps Guidance

Early Childhood Intervention

Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) is a statewide program for families with children birth through 35 months who have disabilities and developmental delays. All health-care providers are required by federal and state regulations to refer children 35 months and younger to the local ECI program as soon as possible but no later than seven days after the suspicion or identification of a developmental delay. 

To qualify for ECI services, a child must have:

  • A qualifying medically diagnosed condition that has a high probability of resulting in a developmental delay. For more information, visit the ECI Qualifying Diagnosis Search web page.
  • An auditory or visual impairment as defined by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) rule at 10 TAC Section 89.1040.
  • A documented delay of at least 25 percent in one or more of the following areas of skills and development: gross motor, communication, cognition, fine motor, social, emotional, or self-help. Or, a documented delay of at least 33 percent when the delay occurs only in expressive language.
  • A qualitative determination of delay, as indicated by responses or patterns that are disordered or qualitatively different from what is expected for the child’s age.


To refer a child, providers should use the ECI Provider Referral and Feedback form. The form, which requires a parent or guardian signature, helps ensure that ECI’s evaluation results and service plan are shared with the referring provider.

To refer families for services, providers can call the local ECI program.