TEIS Questions and Answers

Q: What does Tennessee’s Early Intervention System (TEIS) do?

A: TEIS links families with supports and services to help them work with their child who has a disability or developmental delay. 

Q: Who should call TEIS?

A: Families, doctors, or other people who are concerned about a child’s development can contact TEIS with questions or to make a referral. 

Q: What does developmental delay mean?

A: A child may have a developmental delay if he or she is far behind other children their age in one or more of the five major skill areas:

1. motor (crawling, walking, using their hands to play),

2. communication (babbling, indicating wants and needs, talking),

3. cognitive (thinking skills including making choices and solving problems),

4. social (playing near or with other children or adults), and/or

5. adaptive (taking care of one's needs).

Q: Once TEIS is called, what is the next step?

A: The local TEIS office will ask an evaluator to talk with the family and set up a developmental evaluation.

Q: How do I know if my child has a developmental delay?

A: Talking with your child’s doctor during regular check-ups is helpful as well as talking with TEIS. 

Q: Does every state have an early intervention system?

A: Yes, every state has a Part C program (birth through two years of age) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Each state decides its own eligibility rules. 

Q: How is a child eligible for TEIS?

A: Children diagnosed with certain disabilities or children whose test results show that they have a 25 percent delay in two developmental areas (motor, communication, etc.) or a 40 percent delay in one area may be eligible for TEIS. Information from the child’s doctor as well as the results of a developmental evaluation will determine if a child meets the eligibility criteria. Once eligible, the family may decide to participate in TEIS and an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) team meeting.

Q: My child’s doctor has called TEIS for a speech test and speech therapy.  Will TEIS set up the test and sign my child up for therapy?

A: Every child must first be determined eligible for TEIS before any service decisions are made, including the need for therapy. If your child is not eligible for TEIS, your service coordinator and doctor can talk about other options for services, such as using your child’s health plan. 

Q: Is TEIS free?

A: It is the right of every infant and toddler to receive service coordination and an eligibility evaluation at no cost. If services are recommended, then the service coordinator will discuss consent to access the child's insurance with the family.

Q: I understand TEIS stops when my child turns 3 years old. What happens next?

A: The TEIS service coordinator will help prepare the family by planning a transition meeting up to nine months before a child’s third  birthday. The purpose of this meeting is to help the family plan for the future. 

Q: What do families gain from their child’s involvement in early intervention?

A: Families have reported that TEIS and their  IFSP team have helped them understand their child’s need(s) and provided ideas of how to work with their child daily.

Q: What do children gain from their  involvement in early intervention?

A: Children benefit when their families have  support (as determined by the IFSP team) and understand how to help them develop every day. Many children who were involved with early intervention are able to start kindergarten with minimal or no special education supports.    

Learn more about Tennessee’s Early Intervention System.

For questions or to make a referral, call 800-852-7157 or contact Part C Coordinator Joan Kennedy at 615-651-0378.