Information for Parents
Tennessee Early Intervention System (TEIS) is a voluntary program that offers therapy and other services to infants and young children with developmental delays or disabilities. Referrals are accepted for children up to the age of three, but eligible children enrolled in TEIS may choose to stay in services through the start of the school year after they turn five.
Early intervention helps children with disabilities or developmental delays become more social, gain independence and reach their optimal development. Each state has an early intervention program as outlined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Children reach milestones in how they play, learn, speak, behave, and move. Developmental milestones give an idea of what to expect as a child gets older.
Parents know their children best. If the child is not meeting the milestones for their age, or if the parents think there could be a problem with the child’s development, they should discuss their concerns with their child’s doctor.
Learn more about Developmental Milestones and Monitoring here: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/childdevelopment/facts.html
Early intervention services are available to infants and young children who show a developmental delay OR have a disability.
In Tennessee, a child might be eligible for TEIS if:
- The child has received a diagnosis from the list on the TEIS Eligibility Information webpage.
- The child meets the prematurity guidelines outlined on the TEIS Eligibility Information webpage.
- The child’s evaluation shows a 25% delay in two developmental areas or a 40% delay in one area.
Anyone can make a referral even if they are not sure if the child has a delay or disability. Children are evaluated by an Eligibility Evaluation Agency. They will also review medical records.
TEIS is available whether a child has Medicaid and/or private insurance.
If a child is determined eligible for TEIS, families will receive services at no cost. Eligibility evaluations and coordination of services are also provided at no cost.
The program is supported through state and federal funds, Medicaid, and private insurance. If services are recommended, the service coordinator may discuss consent with the family to access their child’s insurance.
- The TEIS statewide referral team will receive and process the referral.
- An Eligibility Evaluation Agency will contact the family to set up the child's eligibility evaluation.
- If not already provided, TEIS will contact the child's doctor to request medical records.
If a child is eligible for TEIS and a family decides to continue with services, they will be assigned a TEIS Service Coordinator. A TEIS Service Coordinator will schedule a meeting with the family to develop a plan to include services and supports specific to the child and family. This plan is called an Individualized Family Support Plan.
Services focus on showing caregivers ways they can support their child's development within their daily routines.
Before a child turns 3, the TEIS Service Coordinator will support the family in planning for transition.
The local school district will evaluate the child for eligibility for special education services in the local school district.
If a child is not eligible for school district special education services, the child will exit early intervention services. The Service Coordinator will provide the family with resources within their community and additional options.
If the child is found eligible for school district special education services, the family will have the following options:
- TEIS Extended Option
- Special education services in the local school district
- Choose to end all services
Learn more about the TEIS Extended Option here: www.tn.gov/didd/teis-extended
Refer a child to TEIS
You may make a referral to TEIS by completing our online referral form or by calling (800) 852-7157. The referral form can also be found in the MyTN app, available on your app store.
Contact Our Referral Team
Please be prepared to provide the child’s name, date of birth, county of residence, parent information (if someone other than the parent calls), and reason for referral.
Email: DD.TEIS_Referrals@tn.gov (note the underscore between “TEIS” and “Referrals”)
Phone: (800) 852-7157