The benefits of early childhood intervention
The early years of childhood are a time where parents learn how to best support and nurture their child, and how to adapt that support as their child develops.
Early intervention is the provision of specialised support services for children and their families, to promote growth, development and participation, during the critical early years (0-5 years) or at the first signs of a developmental delay. Early intervention not only focuses on the child but on up-skilling, educating and empowering parents to best meet their child’s needs.
Early intervention has been shown to assist children and their families with the various types of developmental delays, difficulties and disabilities.
Delays in reaching early year milestones
- First words
- Fine motor skills.
Difficulties in early year schooling
- Social difficulties.
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Cerebral Palsy
- Down Syndrome.
Your child’s early learning experiences shape the way their young brains develop. This learning and development is rapid at a young age, with your child’s brain constantly evolving and making crucial neural pathways that determine how he or she will learn and develop later on in life.
How do we develop and learn?
As a child, we learn by making mistakes, trying again and changing how we do something to make it easier or more effective. This ability, combined with our past experience, is also the process for how we learn to think and react to a new and ever-changing world.
Think about when you first learnt to catch and throw a ball. You first learnt how to catch by bringing a large sized ball into your chest. You learnt to throw underarm with two hands. You then practised and refined those skills until you could catch and throw with accuracy.
This motor programming memory is built on the initial information stored, i.e. on how to catch and throw a ball. We then develop increasingly complex pathways within the brain. This affords the ability to adjust these skills to the environment of a ball game, such as pitching, or reflex catching.
How can you support and promote your child’s development?
Early intervention has clearly been shown to promote a child’s development, learning and social skills. This structured intervention is based on learning through play. Skilled therapists will adapt their approach to each individual child based on the child’s needs and interests. An engaging program can then be developed and shared with the parents, who can replicate these playful and effective learning activities at home.
If your child is showing signs of developmental delay and could benefit from early intervention, you should seek a review from your GP, Occupational Therapist or Speech Pathologist, or speak with your child’s Early Learning Educator or Child Health Nurse.
Click here to find out more about Early Developmental Milestones.
Early Childhood Intervention Australia is also a great website that further explains early intervention and the benefits it offers – http://www.ecia.org.au