What is Early Start?


We know that parents know their child better than anyone.   We also know that the first three years of the child’s life are a period of incredible growth in all of areas of their development. The Family Resource Center at AbilityPath is here to help you understand and access Early Start Services for your child. 

Families whose children are ages 0-3 have or are at risk for developmental delay or disabilities may qualify for early intervention services via the Early Start program.  Early Start is California’s early intervention program for infants and toddlers with disabilities ages 0-3 and their families. Early Start services are available statewide and are provided in a coordinated, family-centered system.

If a parent, family member, caregiver, or professional has a concern about a child’s development, it is best to identify the concern as soon as possible. The first step that parents may take is to discuss their concerns with their health care provider/doctor.

In San Mateo County, families can access Early Start early intervention services through the Golden Gate Regional Center (GGRC):

  • Anyone can make a referral, including parents, medical care providers, neighbors, family members, foster parents, and day care providers
  • All infants and toddlers potentially eligible for a regional center program will be evaluated by GGRC to determine if they are eligible to receive services through Early Start
  • Based on the child’s assessed developmental needs and the families concerns and priorities, early intervention services may include:
    • assistive technology
    • audiology
    • family training, counseling, and home visits
    • nursing services
    • nutrition services
    • occupational therapy, physical therapy and/or speech therapy
    • psychological services
    • service coordination (case management) and/or social work services
    • sign language and cued language services
    • special instruction
    • transportation and related costs
    • vision services
  • You can find more information about applying for Early Start services at GGRC here.

How the Family Resource Center can help:

The FRC provides free parent-to-parent support in helping you navigate Early Start Services.  You can contact us either before you are connected to GGRC or after your child starts services. We are staffed by parents of children with developmental disabilities who bring the empathetic and knowledgeable lens of an experienced parent and who are also professionally trained to provide a wide variety of resources and information to parents as they navigate the system of care in San Mateo County.

Helpful Early Start links: