Early Childhood Intervention Collage

Early Childhood Intervention

Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) provides services to families with children (birth to 36 months) who have developmental delays and disabilities in these 12 counties: Cooke, Denton, Ellis, Erath, Hood, Johnson, Navarro, Palo Pinto, Parker, Somervell, Tarrant, and Wise. 

We can help you with: 

  • Audiology/Hearing
  • Assistive Technology 
  • Behavioral Intervention 
  • Case Management 
  • Counseling
  • Family Education 
  • Health Services
  • Infant Massage
  • Nursing
  • Nutrition and Feeding 
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Physical Therapy 
  • Social Work 
  • Specialized Skills Training 
  • Speech & Language Therapy 
  • Transition to Services Beyond ECI
  • Translation/Interpretation

Message from Laura Kender, Chief of Child and Family Services:

“Children are our most precious and treasured gift; they are our future. ECI of North Central Texas has a team of professionals who are incredibly dedicated and caring people. Their passion is to meet the needs of the youngest children in our society. Early Childhood Intervention makes an investment in babies today for a better tomorrow. We all win when a child is given the best start in life.”
Laura Kender Portrait

If you are concerned about your child, don’t delay in asking for help.

How to Get Started:

Call to request an evaluation. Our staff will call you to schedule your first visit.

At Your First Visit:

ECI staff will determine if your child is eligible for services

Make a Plan: 

An Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) will be developed for you to receive services. billing and payments will be discussed.

Begin Services:

Services are provided by ECI licensed and/credentialed professionals. ECI professionals and family members work together to help the child learn new skills through everyday activities. Services are coordinated with others in the community.

Look at Progress: 

Your child’s progress will be reviewed regularly.

Transition Out of ECI Services:

Before your child’s third birthday, the ECI staff will help you plan for services and supports within MHMR and elsewhere, such as the local school district, Head Start and private therapy.

Parent Handbook: English | Spanish

Paying for ECI: English | Spanish

Our Mission: To assure that families of young children with developmental delays have the resources and support they need to reach their goals.

What is a developmental delay? 

A developmental delay is when a child is behind schedule reaching early childhood milestones. These significant lags may occur in one or more areas of growth, emotional, mental, or physical.

Types of delays: 

  • Communication – speech and language
  • Cognitive – thinking and learning 
  • Motor – movement 
  • Social/Emotional – relationships and interactions 
  • Self-help – feeding and dressing 

Children develop at their own pace. However, if you are concerned that your child may have some delays, early intervention is the best way to help them. Call ECI for an evaluation. If you are eligible, ECI will determine your need and recommend services. Fees are based on a sliding scale.

Comments or questions? Contact us at ECINorthTexas@mhmrtc.org

To receive services through Early Childhood Intervention, you must be eligible* in the following ways:

  • Live in one of the following counties:
    • Cooke
    • Denton
    • Ellis
    • Erath
    • Hood
    • Johnson
    • Navarro
    • Palo Pinto
    • Parker
    • Somervell
    • Tarrant
    • Wise
  • Have a medically diagnosed condition that will probably result in a developmental delay (see brochure below)
  • Have a developmental delay or difficulty with these skills:
    • Communication – Language or speech 
    • Cognitive – Thinking, learning, playing, reasoning, etc. 
    • Motor – Physical development, such as:
      • Gross motor (using large muscles): sitting up, crawling, and walking 
      • Fine motor (using smaller muscles): grabbing small objects
      • Oral motor (using the mouth): to suck or chew
    • Social/emotional – Curious, enjoys playtime, interacts with others, etc. 
    • Self-help – Taking care of own needs (eating, drinking, washing hands, potty training, etc.)
  • Have an auditory or visual impairment, determined by local school district certified staff 

Search for a Medically Qualifying Diagnosis

How will my child’s developmental difficulties be evaluated?

A team of ECI professionals will use the Battelle Developmental Inventory (BDI-2) to determine a child’s abilities, delays, or difficulties. 

During the evaluation, ECI will observe your child and talk to the parents about the child’s abilities. ECI also may gather information from other sources, such as the child’s medical history, interviews with parents or other primary caregivers, and medical professionals. 

If the child is eligible, as assessment will then: 

  • Identify the child’s unique strengths and needs
  • Determine what services are appropriate 

What do services cost?

A sliding fee scale is determined by the state (HHS/ECI), according to the family’s ability to pay. Insurance may cover the cost of some services. ECI will bill your family’s insurance, with your permission. Families are billed based on a sliding scale. 

Learn more: English | Spanish 

Payment Options: 

  • Credit Card
  • Flexible Spending Account
  • Check 

Many children with a developmental delay are not identified until they enter school. 

Early intervention can have a significant impact on a child’s ability to learn, reducing the need for additional interventions later in life. 

Developmental delays can hinder a child’s ability to develop to his or her fullest potential. 

If you are concerned that an infant or toddler may have a developmental delay or disability, contact ECI for an evaluation. 

Anyone can request an evaluation: 

  • Parents
  • Family members
  • Health care professionals 
  • Social workers 
  • Caregivers
  • Friends
  • Neighbors

ECI will then determine if a child needs services and is eligible to receive them. The family will be involved in the evaluation, from the initial assessments to planning the next appropriate steps. 

It’s easy to contact ECI and request an evaluation:

  • Call 1-800-754-0524 or 817-446-8000 between Monday – Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Fax: 817-569-4492
  • Email: ECINorthTexas@mhmrtc.org
  • Mail: ECI of North Central Texas 3800 Hulen Street, Suite 400 Fort Worth, TX 76107

Referral Form: Print and complete the form, then submit by fax, email, or mail. 

Referral Form – Families

Referral Form – Doctors 

Summer Activities

By Michelle Ramirez, ECI Occupational Therapist 

As summer approaches, opportunities to engage your child in play to build her fine motor skills can be even more fun that ever! Warm temperatures allow for digging in the dirt with a shovel, pouring water into different size cups and bowls, and picking flowers on a long walk. As an Occupational Therapist working in early intervention, I really look forward to offering strategies to parents to help them make play fun and educational at the same time. Here are some ideas for you to enjoy no matter what age! 

Our fine motor skills are actually directly related to how strong our cores and shoulders are. Your core and shoulders offer the stability that is needed to allow use of your fingers in a very specific manner. So, in order to build strength in these areas, how about giving your child a paintbrush and a bucket of water. They can “paint” the fence, brick wall, or cement over and over without you ever worrying about cleanup. Digging in the sand and emptying out the heavy bucket over and over is a great activity to build both eye hand coordination and arm strength. Gardening and pulling weeds are also great sensory and fine motor strengthening tasks that your child will enjoy. Drawing with chalk on an outside wall or on the sidewalk can also be a fun way to build strength in your upper extremities. Allow your child to “wash” the chalk off, too, using their paintbrush and water for extra strengthening. 

For more specific fine motor tasks, how about going on a nature walk and heling your child to point to different things they see using only their index finger in isolation? Label the bird, squirrel, flower, or leaf to build his or her language skills, too! Save your plastic food containers and lids, and cut holes of different sizes to allow your child to fill the container with different items, such as popsicle sticks, cotton balls, dry beans, and straws. These small objects are more difficult to pick up and place in a hole so your child may be challenged by this fun activity. The skills being built include dexterity, grasp, and pinch strength. You can also work on his or her ability to use their hands together by having one hand hold the container, and the other holding the object, or try holding the container sideways while your child places the object in the container, so that he or she has to use a different approach at varying heights. Using your imagination or creativity will make these play ideas fun for both of you. Remember all activities should be supervised to ensure your child is safe, and so they get the most out of the activity. Hope you have a fun summer! 

We will have time during and after the assessment to answer questions about your child and your service plan. Some frequently asked questions during the first meeting are:
  • How is ECI different from other therapies? ECI provides comprehensive case management, therapy and counseling for young children and their caregivers. Using an evidence-based primary provider approach to teaming and adult coaching, ECI has consistently outperformed state metrics for critical developmental outcomes, such as social/emotional development, acquiring/using new skills and getting basic care. You’ll learn more about our approach as we develop your plan. The welcome letter will help explain further, too.
  • What if my child is close to age 3? ECI will evaluate your child and help with the transition of services at age 3. The transition will be a key part of your service plan.

Parent Handbook
English | Spanish


Beyond ECI

Beyond ECI
English | Spanish

Developmental Checklist

Should I Be Concerned?
Early intervention is best
English | Spanish