Early ACCESS is a partnership between families with young children (birth to age 3) and providers from:

Families and Early ACCESS staff work together to identify, coordinate and provide needed services and resources that help families assist their infants and toddlers in their growth and development.

A Family Guide to Early ACCESS

Watch this video to learn more about Early ACCESS and how families feel about the providers who assist them and their children.

Eligibility Criteria

Infants and toddlers under the age of 3 are eligible to receive Early ACCESS early intervention services when they meet any one of the three following criteria:

1. The child has a diagnosed and documented physical or mental condition that has a high probability of resulting in developmental delays.

2. The child has a 25% or more delay in one or more of the following developmental areas:

  • cognitive development
  • physical development including vision and hearing
  • communication development
  • social/emotional development
  • adaptive development

3. An informed clinical opinion may establish a child’s eligibility.

Guidance Documents

Administrative Rules of Early ACCESS

Early ACCESS Procedures

Early ACCESS Release Notes (July 2020)

Early ACCESS Procedural Safeguards for Parents

Early ACCESS Summary of Parents Rights

How to Make a Referral

If you think your child, age birth to 3 years, may need assistance, you can make a referral in one of two ways: directly to Heartland AEA or through the Iowa Family Support Network.

Heartland AEA


Iowa Family Support Network

Please note that if your child resides in the Des Moines Public School district, he/she would receive services from the district rather than from Heartland AEA. If your child resides in the Des Moines district, contact: 

Pam Nielsen
(515) 242-8213

More Information

For additional information about Early ACCESS in Iowa, visit:

Iowa Department of Education