OBJECTIVE: To gather information from paediatricians concerning their attitudes to early intervention services for young children with developmental disabilities and to study their referral practices. METHODOLOGY: Two hundred and ninety-five Australian paediatricians completed a postal questionnaire. RESULTS: Paediatricians presented a positive view of early intervention, particularly for its beneficial impact on families, and perceived the quality of services to be comprehensive or adequate. There were few differences between States, or between country or metropolitan areas. Most paediatricians make prompt referrals to early intervention services when a child has an established disability. Referral is much less likely with suspected delay. CONCLUSIONS: Paediatricians are aware of the benefits of early intervention but additional information concerning the role of these services and their significant impact on families and children should be provided.