EarlyACCESS

Early ACCESS & Early Childhood

Grant Wood AEA provides services and resources to families with pre-school aged children. These services are available to both families with children with developmental concerns as well a children without special education needs. Services are free, flexible to your schedule and do not require insurance.

Early ACCESS – Birth to Age 3

Infants and toddlers under the age of 3 are eligible to receive Early ACCESS early intervention services. Early ACCESS is a partnership between families with young children (birth to age 3) and providers from the Iowa Departments of Education, Public Health and Human Services, Child Health Specialty Clinics and Iowa’s AEAs.

Families and Early ACCESS staff work together to identify, coordinate and provide needed services and resources that help families assist their infants and toddlers who have either a developmental delay, or have a condition that has a high probability of later delays if early intervention services are not provided.

Grant Wood AEA’s Early ACCESS program is available at no cost to populations of children with disabilities or at risk of having disabilities. Early ACCESS providers have training in various professions including: autism, early childhood education, hearing intervention, physical therapy, occupational therapy, psychology, social work, speech-language pathology, and vision intervention.

Do you want your child evaluated for potential delays?

Contact us with this form.

Eligibility criteria




Infants and toddlers under the age of 3 are eligible to receive Early ACCESS early intervention services when they meet any one of the three following criteria:

1. The child has a diagnosed and documented physical or mental condition that has a high probability of resulting in developmental delays.
2. The child has a 25% or more delay in one or more of the following developmental areas:

  • Cognitive Development
  • Physical Development (including vision and hearing)
  • Communication Development
  • Social/Emotional Development
  • Adaptive Development

3. An informed clinical opinion may establish a child’s eligibility.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will people be coming into our home? If so, who will they be?




Children learn best with people they know and in the places they spend most of their time. Early ACCESS professionals help families build on the things they do every day to support their child’s learning and development in order. Toward that end, Grant Wood AEA employs physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, social workers, home intervention teachers, nurse consultants and other professionals who work side-by-side with children and families in their homes or the places where their children spend most of their time.

How do caregivers learn to support a child’s growth?




Early ACCESS service providers get to know a family’s daily activities, priorities and hopes for their child. Together, service providers and caregivers plan and practice interventions that can be used throughout the day in routines and activities that the family already does.

Does this work? I am not a trained therapist or teacher.




Yes. Service providers do not expect caregivers to do what they do. They support families by coaching them to help their child grow and learn. Everyday routines and activities are teaching and learning opportunities. The more children are able to practice skills, the more they are being supported in development.

What are everyday routines and activities?




Routines are activities we do so much that we may not have to think about what we are doing to complete them. For example, changing diapers, getting a snack, getting the mail or picking up toys are all routines. Inviting children to assist with routines and activities is a way to help them learn and grow. Routines are predictable so we know what is coming next. Other activities that may not be done as often as routines can be helpful for children, too. For example, watering flowers, playing peek-a-boo, dropping brothers and sisters off at school or feeding the dog can all be good teaching and learning activities.

What happens if I don’t have time? Do I have to have a schedule?




There is no need for a special time or schedule. Children learn throughout the day when they are part of activities and routines, such as snack time, bath time, getting dressed and going in the car. Service providers work with caregivers to find ways to embed learning into these activities.


Age 3- 5 Early Childhood Services

If your child is between the ages of 3 to 5 years, is not yet enrolled in school, and you have concerns about his/her development, you may contact GWAEA for more information about its Early Childhood Services. Grant Wood AEA’s Early Childhood special education professionals provide training and serve as a resource to early childhood special education teachers in public schools, early childhood providers in community settings such as preschool, child care and Head Start programs to meet the developmental learning needs of young children. Also, families and early childhood providers may request information about appropriate expectations for children’s development.


The Childcare Alliance Response Team (CART)

The Childcare Alliance Response Team (CART) is a program that will provide a rapid response of intensive behavioral support for children ages 0-5 who are not labeled as having special education needs. Children may be referred by childcare providers of families for extremely challenging behaviors in their childcare setting. This can be a big help to families who may be in danger of losing their employment if their child is unable to remain in their childcare setting.

CART staff will conduct a behavior analysis of each child, identify strategies childcare providers may use, and provide coaching/implementation assistance to childcare providers working with referred children. Each child care provider will also participate in an environmental rating process that will give the provider information about ways they can assure their childcare setting contributes to the success and well-being of all children in their care.

CART Services Include:

  • General education interventions/strategies
  • Collaborative development of individual plans
  • Referral to other resources as necessary

Note: Because CART is a Benton, Cedar, Linn, Johnson, Jones and Washington County Early Childhood Iowa Grant funded program, this program is limited only to those counties.

If your child needs behavioral support, contact 319-399-6746 or fill out the referral form.