What is Early intervention?
Early intervention is an education service for children between the ages of 0 to 3. It begins with an assessment by a team of professionals that assesses a child’s speech, language, cognitive, and physical development to standards for each age. If significant delays are found, home therapy and/or special education services are arranged.
Can Early Intervention help my child?
EI (Early Intervention) service at or near the moments a child is learning to walk, talk, and develop social skills has been shown to have a huge positive effect. In some cases, EI services can significantly minimize or even eliminate the need for professional services once a child reaches school.
Some examples of services provide by EI include:
- Speech Therapy
- Occupational Therapy
- Physical Therapy
- Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA)
- Developmental Intervention
- Feeding therapy
Who does EI benefit?
Early Intervention services help any child who exhibits a delay to speech, language, cognitive, or motoric development. Some examples of what diagnosis qualify for EI include children with: Autism, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, and pediatric speech language delay.
While we wait and sometimes pray for that “first word”, we may tend to miss out on the developmental sequence that’s really going on – the acquisition of sounds and first conversation.
Short of words a young one can communicate through eye contact, a smile, laugh or even a single sound. A child makes a sound, a parent responds in kind and the next thing you know there’s a conversation of sorts. What do such early exchanges of sounds, laughs, smiles and eye contact mean? They serve as the proving ground for a child’s eventual language development. It’s the place where sounds are discovered, eye contact is made, a laugh is heard and first conversations come to be.
Who would have thunk, that well before the advent of words, such meaningful conversations can occur. It only goes to show the true wonder of all the individual pieces that makeup and precede the existence of human speech. You don’t have to wait for the words to appear, they’re conversing with us now so don’t hesitate to join in.
Follow your child’s lead
If they’re playing with the “b” sound, then surround them with words words that contain “b”. ie- ball, bye, bed, bath. If they show interest in a particular show or book, point out the words that start with “B”.
They can only do what they can do
First word production is an awesome event. Many things cognitive, neurologic, and motoric have to happen for a word or even a sound to occur. It’s important to realize and be accepting the timing may just not be right.
Think in terms a your child’s world
Children at a young age have defined interests. Pay close attention to their world and interests. Do they like cars, animals, books, outdoor activities? Look for and point out the words which may be associated with such activities.
The important thing is the attempt
Remember you’re expecting your child to do something they’ve never done before. It may not be perfect and rarely is, the important thing is to try.
Often we expect so much from our little ones, but the reality is progress usually occurs in small increments. Break down speech tasks into it’s small manageable steps. With each success your child will become more and more interested.
Make learning fun
The beauty of being a child is that everything is new and that your in a constant mode of discovering. It’s a really an exciting time. Fill the moments with fun and laughter and don’t be surprised if in doing so you re-discover your inner child.
The answer is … Yes – depending upon your plan speech therapy services are covered by insurance. Examples funding sources include:
- Private Insurance (depending on your plan)
- Local school district
- Early Intervention Services