Going back to the old days, early intervention is not an option to many of the parents. Although they may have noticed some delays or differences on their child, they chose not to consider early intervention. One of the reasons are the some of the myths of the older generations have. For example, a 3-year old child is not talking yet. This may just be regarded as “delay” and eventually the child would speak after few months. Another reason is, when a child is still unable to walk by 2 years of age, for some, they would think that using a walker would help or maybe in a span of time, it will eventually be developed. However, not all cases may result to this. This is where early intervention comes in.
It may be confusing to navigate early intervention and old myths may make it hard to know what’s true and how best to help the child.
What is Early Intervention?
This is the term used to describe services and support that help babies, toddlers or children. In Bridging the Gap, we cater as early as 18 month old babies up to 8 years old.
It simply means identifying and providing effective early support to children and young people who are at risk if different developmental delays which may affect their quality of life in the future. The supports include speech therapy, occupational therapy, and other types of services based on the needs of the child and family.
The question is, Why is Early Intervention Important?
1. Intervention is more effective when provided in earlier than later.
According to studies, the connections in a baby’s brain are most adaptable in the first three years of life. Meaning, these years are the most critical years and the best years to give all the necessary inputs for proper development. These connections, also called neural circuits, are the foundation for learning, behaviour, and health. Over time, these connections become harder to change. Doctors, psychologists and educators have been singing the same tune regarding the effectivity of early intervention.
2. Early Intervention helps your child achieve optimal development through play
Play is a child’s work and essential to brain development, particularly during their first three years. Yes, we have been giving emphasis to 3 years as the critical time of development. If your child appears to be experiencing developmental delays in any of the developmental milestones (physical, cognitive, social & psychological), getting support early and understanding exactly how services can help is essential. Giving more opportunities for play with an early Intervention specialist can facilitate the development of the skills needed for problem-solving, self-control, socialization and communication.
3. Early Intervention may help in reducing the need for specialized support during a child’s school years
Early Intervention is very effective in helping children make the most progress toward hitting age-appropriate developmental milestones. Children receiving early intervention support may show higher potential and chances to be able to transit to the mainstream schools. This is because early intervention also help in developing school readiness skills which includes literacy, numeracy, social skills and independent skills which are vital in a mainstream setting.
4. Early Intervention helps in making the child and the family secure and comfortable with a routine
Pool of professionals and therapist will come hand in hand to develop goals for the child. These goals will help in building a structured routine and strategies that the everyone utilise in achieving the goals more consistently in home, school and community settings. Children are most comfortable in familiar environments, and as a result Early Intervention activities become part of your daily routine. Your child will progress by repetition and incorporation of strategies into meal time, play time, and bed time.
5. Early Intervention empowers families to help their child unleash their true potential
As a parent, you are your child’s primary teacher. Through early intervention, you will be empowered with the strategies and supports necessary to help your child through their developmental challenges, so that they may reach their full potential. Remember that early intervention is not a one-straight journey. This means there are professionals who can help with whatever you are going through. This does not only apply to the supports that your child would be needing but also applies to you – parents, on how you can gear up yourselves in this life-long journey.