NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Thousands of Tennessee children will now have the choice to receive critical early intervention services beyond the age of 3 as the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) begins its Tennessee Early Invention System (TEIS) Extended Option.

TEIS is a voluntary program that offers therapy and other services to infants and young children with developmental delays or disabilities across Tennessee. It is provided to children and families at no cost.

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Previously, TEIS provided services to children from birth until age 3. Through the TEIS Extended Option, children enrolled in TEIS who turn 3 on or after Oct. 15, 2022 will have the choice to continue receiving TEIS services up to the start of the school year following their child’s 4th birthday if eligible, according to a release. The extension will hopefully give families an additional choice to consider as they help their child develop and prepare for school.

“Early intervention is critical to the development of Tennessee children with disabilities and developmental delays as they prepare for school and ultimately adulthood,” said DIDD Commissioner Brad Turner. “By extending these services during the important developmental years, we’re ensuring they have a chance for lifelong success.”

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DIDD anticipates roughly 80% of families who are eligible will choose to continue with TEIS services through the TEIS Extended Option.

“Parents know their child best,” said Commissioner Turner. “We want families to feel like they have options and the information they need to make the best decision for their child.

For more information about the TEIS Extended Option and eligibility, click here.