Public Support for Early Intervention Programs

While the level of public support for early intervention programs is sometimes in dispute, primarily because of their cost, the effectiveness of such programs is not. Children who have participated in an early intervention program tend to spend less time in special education, tend to be retained a grade less often, and tend to stay in school and graduate. Although U.S. society was not funding early intervention programs for children at-risk to the extent that would make them commonplace in communities, early intervention programs and the effectiveness of them were beginning at the dawn of the twenty-first century to gain recognition in the public's eye.

Politicians often place increased funding of these programs on their political agendas. In addition, some states are now moving toward offering state-funded preschool programs to all four-year-olds in an effort to follow the national trend of getting children ready to learn. Early intervention programs such as the one included in the High/Scope Perry Preschool study illustrate that the cost factor over time appears to outweigh the cost of funding these programs. Early intervention programs have, over time, proven to make a difference in the lives of children and their families.

See also: HEAD START Bibliography

''Children Champions.'' In the National Association for the Education of Young Children [web site]. Washington, DC, 2000. Available from http://www.naeyc.org/default.htm; INTERNET.

Peterson, Nancy L. Early Intervention for Handicapped and At-Risk

Children. Denver: Love Publishing, 1987. Shonkoff, Jack P., and Samuel J. Meisels. Handbook of Early Intervention. Cambridge, Eng.: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

Erin L. Smith-Bird

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