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Early Intervention - What is it and why does it matter?




What is it?

Early Intervention, is supporting a child’s development as early as possible when suspecting, or knowing of developmental delays.

Early intervention can provide the strategies and treatment needed to shift a child’s development in order to help them function in daily tasks and activities.

Developmental delays can often occur in more than one area of a child’s development and milestones.


Some common areas of delay include,

  • Cognitive (thinking and problem solving)

  • Walking

  • Social skills and interactions (Play)

  • Talking- Communication and speech

  • Fine Motor skills

  • Muscular growth

  • Independence

  • Coordination

  • Developing attention


Why does it matter?

It is important to take notice of developmental delay s as early as possible, as these can be possible underlying signs and symptoms of an existing medical condition, such as Global Developmental delay (GDD), Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), cerebral palsy, or genetic disorders.


What can I do?

There is plenty of research out there which can be overwhelming and at times leave you feeling uncertain at what to do regarding supporting your child’s development; however if unsure it is best to get support from a health profession to support development, such as an Occupational Therapist (Functioning/Therapy), Speech therapist (talking/swallowing/communication) or a Physiotherapist (Muscular/movement).

Below includes a range of health professionals that can support and provide intervention planning for your child,

  • General Practitioner (GP)

  • Pediatrician

  • Audiologist

  • Occupational therapist

  • Speech pathologist

  • Psychologist

  • Psychiatrist

  • Social worker

  • Therapists, e.g. speech-language, physio

  • Special education teachers and support workers


Strategies

  • Take notes in a notebook around your child’s milestones, if your child does not show to walk around 15 months of age or speak their first word by 18 months, seek support.

  • Play with your child every day, interactive play can assist movement, communication and cognitive thinking.

  • Talk to your child as often as you can, this promotes speech, listening, interactions, social skills, cognitive thinking and independence.

  • Praise and encourage your child to do tasks, especially new ones. This will promote independence.

  • Allow your child time to complete tasks, at times we can expect them to complete a task such as packing away or moving from an activity when this can take a lot of cognitive processing.

  • Using a range of verbal, and visual prompts in an activity. Visuals are a great way for your child to learn language, learn a task, and to follow instructions/routine.

  • Use simple, small step instructions for your child to follow.

  • Seek support from a health professional (as mentioned above) to help create an individualized therapy plan; supporting with small achievable goals for areas of developmental concern. 

If anyone would like support in creating an individualized therapy plan for your child please contact me at Connecting Together, we can meet for a free consultation to discuss any queries and questions you may have. Your child does not need to have a diagnosis to receive therapy/intervention support, therefore if you feel there is an area you would like strategies, support, ideas, activities or guidance in please contact me connectingtogether2017@outlook.co.nz or mobile 02102915235.

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Melissa Walker-Tate (Occupational Therapist)

Connecting Together Ltd.

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