Each year millions of dollars are spent on early intervention programs in the hopes of being able to help disadvantaged children catch up to others intellectually. But do they actually work? Are these programs really able to give disadvantaged children the "boost" that they need?
Much accumulated evidence seems to show that most early intervention programs don't produce as good of results as they claim to. Studies show that these programs typically produce a short-term increase in IQ, but this increase doesn't last after the program ends. Early intervention programs aren't all bad though. Some studies have indicated that early intervention programs lead to lower high school dropout rates, as well as higher levels of early literacy and understanding of others' emotions.
Some researchers believe that early intervention programs can indeed be very helpful, but the degree of effectiveness depends on certain features of the program. This is detailed in the following article about early intervention programs:
Although many studies indicate that there is not much long term usefulness in early intervention programs, it seems to me that there must be some benefits to exposing children to stimulating learning environments at an early age. At the very least, they would learn what's to be expected of them during their formal education, in addition to learning how to respectfully interact with other children. However, I still wonder if these slight advantages outweigh the cost of running early intervention programs.