Early Intervention


As part of a recent study, RAND researchers synthesized what is known from the scientifically sound research literature about the short- and long-term benefits from early intervention programs, the features that are associated with more-effective programs, and the economic gains that accrue from investing additional resources in early childhood. We summarize those findings here.

Key findings:

  • Early childhood intervention programs have been shown to yield benefits in academic achievement, behaviour, educational progression and attainment, delinquency and crime, and labour market success, among other domains.
  • Interventions with better-trained caregivers and smaller child-to-staff ratios appear to offer more favourable results.
  • Well-designed early childhood interventions have been found to generate a return to society ranging from $1.80 to $17.07 for each dollar spent on the program.

According to research, learning and development are at their highest rate in the preschool years. Some children, due to conditions noticed at birth, special needs, or developmental delays which occur in the early years, risk missing some of the most important learning and developmental milestones.  Early intervention helps keep these children on a path to making the most of abilities and skills developed during the early years.

Early intervention services also support the parents and siblings of children with special needs. Families often experience frustration, stress, disappointment, and helplessness. This can both impact the well-being of the family and further affect the development of the special needs child.  Early intervention helps build a nurturing and supportive environment for the entire family. Early intervention is forward looking, even into adulthood.  It has been shown that EI therapies do far more than provide for immediate benefits during the developmental years.  They significantly increase the child’s ability to integrate in future social environments, including school, community, and ultimately employment.