EI Specialists

There are many different specialists.

One of these may be your service coordinator, but they will all work together to help your family and your child to meet the goals from your IFSP.

These are the most common ones, but there are others.

Types of specialists:

  • Developmental Specialist 

  • Speech Therapist (SLP)

  • Occupational Therapist (OT)

  • Physical Therapist (PT)

  • Social Worker 

  • Mental Health and Family and Marriage Counselors

There are also specialists who work with kids with specific disabilities, such as:

  • Blind or visually impaired

  • Deaf or hard of hearing

  • Autism

Click on the box below to learn more:

All EI service providers must be certified as EI Specialists by the Mass DPH.

There are different types. Your child's and family's needs will decide which ones you use. This list includes the most common ones, but there are others.

Types of specialists:

  • Developmental Specialist (or Early Childhood Special Educator): Helps kids learn basic skills that they should have at their age.

  • Speech Therapist (also called a Speech and Language Pathologist or SLP): Helps with communication skills at all levels. Even young babies can learn skills that will lead to talking and understanding. Also helps with swallowing, chewing and other feeding skills.

  • Occupational Therapist (OT): Helps with fine motor coordination--using hands and fingers to do things like hold onto things, push buttons, throw balls, etc.

  • Physical Therapist (PT): Helps with large muscle movements (gross motor coordination), like sitting, crawling and walking.

  • Social worker: Helps connect your family to other needed services like childcare, food or housing. Can also give counseling for emotional support or crisis management.

  • Mental health counselor (LMHC- the "L" is for licensed) or Family and marriage counselor (LFMC): Help families cope with stress and other emotional challenges.

Some specialists are trained to help kids with specific types of disabilities.

  • Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI): Can help kids with low vision to maximize their visual skills and enhance other senses, or help blind kids adapt to their environment. Can also help families set up their homes to keep the child safe.

  • Teacher of deaf or hard of hearing: Helps kids and families learn ways to communicate, including sign language and using technology.

  • Specialty Service Providers for Autism: Can help with communication, building good relationships and reducing unwanted behaviors. They use different proven methods, including Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA).

If your child is deaf or hard of hearing, or has autism, click on the links below to download a helpful handbook. (It will open in a new tab or appear in the bottom corner of your screen.)

Sources: Early Intervention Specialists, MA DPH, CDC