Early intervention is the provision of specialized services and supports to children with disabilities and their families from birth to age 3. The goal of early intervention is to help children reach their full potential by addressing their developmental delays or disabilities.
Early intervention can be provided in a variety of settings, including:
- In the home
- In a community-based setting, such as a daycare or preschool
- In a hospital or clinic
The services and supports that are provided as part of early intervention can vary depending on the child’s individual needs. However, some common services and supports include:
- Speech therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Physical therapy
- Behavior therapy
- Educational support
- Family support
Early intervention has been shown to be effective in helping children with disabilities reach their full potential. Studies have shown that children who receive early intervention are more likely to:
- Succeed in school
- Live independently as adults
- Have fewer behavioral problems
- Have stronger social skills
If you are concerned about your child’s development, it is important to talk to your doctor. Your doctor can refer you to an early intervention program in your area.
Types of Early Intervention Services
There are many different types of early intervention services available. Some of the most common types of services include:
- Evaluations: Early intervention providers will conduct evaluations to assess your child’s development and identify their needs.
- Service coordination/case management: A service coordinator will work with you and your family to develop a plan of care for your child.
- Speech therapy: Speech therapy can help children with speech and language delays.
- Physical therapy: Physical therapy can help children with gross motor delays, such as difficulty walking or sitting.
- Occupational therapy: Occupational therapy can help children with fine motor delays, such as difficulty with self-care skills or playing with toys.
- Behavior therapy: Behavior therapy can help children with behavioral problems, such as aggression or tantrums.
- Educational support: Educational support can help children with learning delays.
- Family support: Family support can help families cope with the challenges of raising a child with a disability.
The Benefits of Early Intervention
Early intervention can provide many benefits for children with disabilities and their families. Some of the benefits of early intervention include:
- Helping children reach their full potential
- Reducing the risk of secondary disabilities
- Improving social and emotional development
- Reducing behavioral problems
- Reducing stress and anxiety for families
- Increasing family involvement in their child’s care
Early intervention is an important intervention for children with disabilities. It can help children reach their full potential and reduce the risk of secondary disabilities. If you are concerned about your child’s development, talk to your doctor about early intervention services.