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To receive services from EDIS, children must first have an entitlement to tuition-free enrollment in DoD schools in overseas and domestic locations. The Department of Defense established the eligibility criteria for children ages birth to 3 to receive Early Intervention Services (EIS), and for children ages 3 through 21 to enroll in special education and receive Related Services (RS).

Eligibility of infants and toddlers to receive EIS is based on an assessment of functional skills in five developmental areas:
- Cognitive - how a child thinks and solves problems.
- Communication - how a child understands and lets you know their wants or needs.
- Social/Emotional - how a child gets along with family members and others.
- Adaptive - how a child performs tasks such as dressing, feeding, and toileting.
- Physical/Fine motor - how a child moves and uses his/her hands.
A child is eligible if he/she has:
- 25% delay in one developmental area, or
- 20% delay in two or more developmental areas, or
- a medical condition that has a high probability of resulting in developmental delay.
The results of the assessment are consolidated and eligibility is determined with the family.

To receive Related Services from EDIS, school aged children must first be eligible for Special Education in DoD Schools in overseas areas only. When a child is considered for Special Education, the schools will refer the child to EDIS for an evaluation of functional skills and strengths, and the need for Related Services.