Are You on the Fence About Early Intervention: A Therapist’s Perspective
Why Early Intervention? A Therapist’s Perspective…
Early Intervention (E.I.) is AMAZING (in theory—admittedly, sometimes not in execution). As you probably know, it is a system (authorized in every state in the U.S.) set up to give those babies and toddlers born with special needs/developmental delays, access to a myriad of supports (therapy, medical access, family counseling) between the ages of birth to three years. Here is a great resource that details the specifics in a well-organized way: http://www.parentcenterhub.org/ei-overview/
Typically, children born with genetic anomalies or serious complications at birth will begin receiving services immediately. Parents understand how critical therapy is to their child’s overall health and functioning, so much so, that they do not think twice about signing up for the services they need. Another population that benefits from E.I. are the children who are born without complication, but do not reach their developmental milestones within the expected age ranges (https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/milestones/index.html). With approx. 20 years logged under my belt in the field of pediatric speech pathology, what I have seen is that the first group of children enroll in E.I., receive services, and achieve amazing results. Yet, with the second group of children, it is not as straight forward.
Spotting a delay can be tricky: Getting E.I. can also be tricky. But I am not writing this to address those points. Rather, this is directed at the parents that are “on the fence” about pursuing E.I.—because they are not sure, or they feel it is best to take a “wait and see” stance. If you fall into this category or have a family member or client that falls into this category—l would encourage you to consider the following: If a child gets E.l. services, it does not “follow” them and they are not “forever marked”.The E.l. program is set up with the idea that the children who receive the services will enter school, at or about age 5, “all caught up”.
If you are having a “feeling” something may be “up”—start the E.l. process—because the evaluations and paperwork take time, and if you wait—this could be life changing, therapeutic time lost.
You know your child will catch up on his own, and he may—but many times a child can appear to “be fine” on the surface. However, when you dig deeper, there are holes in his learning foundation — and these holes can wreak havoc.
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