TEIS Questions and Answers

  • What does Tennessee’s Early Intervention System (TEIS) do?
    TEIS puts families in touch with services and resources to help them work with their child who has a disability or developmental delay.
  • What does the term “developmental delay” mean?
    A child may have a developmental delay if he or she is far behind other children his or her 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)
    5. Adaptive (taking care of one’s needs)
  • Who should call TEIS?
    Families, doctors or other people who are concerned about a child’s development can call TEIS.
  • Once TEIS is called, what is the next step?
    The local TEIS office will ask a service coordinator to call the family and set up a visit.
  • How do I know if my child has a developmental delay?
    Talking with your child’s doctor during regular checkups is helpful. TEIS can also help.
  • Does every state have an Early Intervention system?
    Yes, every state has a Part C program (birth through 2 years of age) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Each state decides its own eligibility rules.
  • How is a child eligible for TEIS in Tennessee?
    Information from the child’s doctor, along with the results of a developmental test, will determine if a child meets the state’s eligibility criteria. Children eligible for TEIS include:
    • Children diagnosed with certain disabilities
    • Children whose tests indicate a 25 percent delay in two developmental areas (motor, communication, etc.)
    • Children whose tests indicate a 40 percent delay in one developmental area

Once eligible, the family may decide to participate in TEIS and an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) team meeting.

  • How does Early Intervention benefit families?
    Families have reported that TEIS and their IFSP team have helped them understand their child’s needs and provided ideas about how to work with their child daily.
  • How does Early Intervention benefit children?
    Children benefit when their families have support from the IFSP team and understand how to help them develop every day. Many children who are involved with Early Intervention are able to start kindergarten with minimal or no special education support.
  • My child’s doctor has called TEIS for a speech test and speech therapy. Will TEIS set up the test and sign up my child for therapy?
    Every child must first be determined eligible for TEIS before any 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.
  • What is the cost of TEIS services?
    Every infant and toddler has the right to receive an eligibility evaluation and service coordination at no cost. When a service is needed to support a child’s IFSP outcome, families provide consent for TEIS to access their child’s healthcare coverage.
  • I understand TEIS stops when my child turns 3 years old. What happens next?
    The TEIS service coordinator will help prepare the family by planning a transition meeting, up to nine months before the child’s third birthday. The purpose of this meeting is to help the family plan for the future.

Learn more about Tennessee’s Early Intervention System.

For questions or to make a referral, call 800-852-7157 or contact the Part C Coordinator at 615-741-9873.