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Early Intervention, Child Find, School Therapy, Private Practice Therapy...WHAT??

So many options... It is HARD! But do not worry, in this blog post, we'll delve into each of these approaches, highlighting their key characteristics, benefits, and considerations.

When seeking therapy services for children, it's essential to understand the different options available. Early intervention programs, Child Find, school therapy, and private practice therapy are distinct avenues that provide support to children with developmental or educational needs.

1. Early Intervention Programs:

Early intervention programs are designed to identify and provide services to infants and young children who may be at risk for, or have, developmental delays or disabilities.

These programs focus on the early years (birth to three years old) and aim to intervene as early as possible to optimize a child's development.

Early intervention services may include

  • speech-language therapy,

  • occupational therapy,

  • physical therapy, and more.

  • These programs often involve a multidisciplinary team of professionals who collaborate to address a child's individual needs.

Benefits of Early Intervention Programs:

  1. Early identification and intervention can lead to better outcomes for children.

  2. Services are typically provided in a child's natural environment, such as their home or daycare, promoting familiarity and comfort.

  3. Parents play an active role in the intervention process, receiving guidance and support to facilitate their child's development.

  4. Services are often covered by federal or state funding, reducing financial burdens for families.


  1. Eligibility criteria and access to early intervention programs may vary by location.

  2. Services typically end at age three, after which a child may transition to other educational or therapeutic settings.

For families in Northern Virginia please consider visiting Infant & Toddler Connection of Virginia for more information.

2. Child Find:

Child Find is a component of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that mandates the identification and evaluation of children, from birth to 21 years old, who may have disabilities and are in need of special education services.

The purpose of Child Find is to ensure that all children with disabilities receive appropriate support and access to educational services.

Benefits of Child Find:

  1. Provides a systematic process for identifying children with disabilities and determining their eligibility for special education services.

  2. Offers comprehensive evaluations and assessments to assess a child's individual needs.

  3. Ensures that children receive the appropriate educational accommodations and services to help them succeed academically.


  1. Child Find is primarily focused on identifying children within the educational system, often beginning at preschool age or when a child enters school.

  2. Eligibility and access to services are determined through a formal evaluation process.

For families in Northern Virginia please consider visiting the following links for more information

3. School Therapy:

School therapy refers to therapy services provided within an educational setting, such as a public or private school. These services are aimed at addressing students' educational and developmental needs to support their academic progress.

School therapists, including speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, and others, work closely with teachers, parents, and other school professionals to provide targeted interventions and support.

Benefits of School Therapy:

  1. Services are conveniently provided within the school environment, minimizing disruptions to a child's daily routine.

  2. Collaboration with teachers allows therapists to align goals and strategies with the academic curriculum.

  3. School therapy can address specific educational goals and help students succeed in the classroom.


  1. Availability and range of services may vary depending on the resources and staffing at each school.

  2. School therapy primarily focuses on addressing educational needs rather than broader developmental or personal goals.

Please consider visiting the school website of your choice for more information

4. Private Practice Therapy:

Private practice therapy involves seeking services from independent therapists or clinics outside of educational or government-funded programs.

These therapists may specialize in various areas and offer individualized treatment plans tailored to a child's specific needs.

Benefits of Private Practice Therapy:

  1. Provides flexibility in choosing a therapist or clinic that meets the child's specific needs and preferences including location, scheduling and family's values

  2. Offers a wide range of specialized services and expertise in various areas of therapy with unlimited therapy sessions.

  3. Allows for more individualized treatment plans adjusting to the child’s needs and family expectations.

  4. No referral needed.

  5. Receive FREE coaching strategies as you participate in the sessions and learn from your therapist.


  1. Private practice therapy may involve out-of-pocket expenses, as services may not be covered by insurance or educational funding.

  2. Availability and accessibility of private practice therapists may vary based on location and demand.

If you are in Northern Virginia - Fairfax, Falls Church, Arlington areas and would like to learn more about my services as a private speech therapy practitioner, please consider completing my intake form and let’s talk! Together we will find the solution. :)



Understanding the differences between early intervention programs, Child Find, school therapy, and private practice therapy is crucial for parents and caregivers seeking appropriate support for their children.

Each approach has its unique benefits and considerations.

  • Early intervention programs focus on the crucial early years of development,

  • Child Find ensures that children with disabilities receive necessary educational services.

  • School therapy integrates therapy within the educational setting,

  • Private practice therapy offers specialized and individualized services outside of institutional settings.

Ultimately, the choice of therapy approach depends on the specific needs of the child, the available resources, and the preferences of the family.

It's important to consult with professionals, such as pediatricians, educators, and therapists, to determine the most suitable option that will best support a child's developmental and educational journey.

By making informed decisions, caregivers can ensure their children receive the necessary support and interventions to thrive and reach their full potential.

Until next time!

Your Friendly Local Speech Therapist,

Irene Gutiérrez

Bilingual Speech and Language Pathologist

Founder Brainstorm Speech Therapy

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