Children learn at their own pace but there are some essential skills that ought to be developed by a certain stage. If these aren’t observed, tackle them as soon as possible to prevent problems later in life.
Kaleidoscope Therapy Centre’s Director of Ready Lets Go, EIP and senior occupational therapist Judith Ramos Guerrero tells us why it’s important to seek help for developmental issues at a young age.
As children acquire skills across different developmental areas, they build on each other as they become more complex. When injury, disease, disorders or unknown internal or external factors affect the developing child and cause delays, disabilities and problems in development, professional help is necessary.
Early intervention, usually starting before the age of three, is an umbrella term used to describe a set of services and supports offered to young children who have been diagnosed, suspected or deemed vulnerable to developmental challenges. These challenges may affect their health, as well as a range of skills: motor, sensory, cognitive self-help, language, communication, social and emotional. Besides parents, a group of psychologists, paediatricians, speech, occupational and physiotherapists, SPED teachers and other professionals will get involved, depending on the child’s needs. A case manager may also be assigned to monitor the collaboration.
Early intervention aims to address current challenges and prevent more problems from occurring, while also equipping children with more tools and strengths to actively participate in their expected environments (such as home and school) and face challenges in the future.
The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University sums up why early intervention is key:
• Neural circuits, which create the foundations for learning, behaviour and health, are most flexible during the first three years of life. Over time, they become increasingly difficult to change.
• The brain is strengthened by positive early experiences, especially stable relationships with caring and responsive adults, safe and supportive environments and appropriate nutrition.
• Early social and emotional development and physical health provide the foundation for cognitive and language skills. • High-quality early intervention services can change a child’s developmental trajectory and improve outcomes for children, families and communities.
• Intervention is likely to be more effective and less costly when it’s provided earlier in life rather than later.
Early intervention plays a crucial role in protecting vulnerable children, preventing further challenges and promoting the quality of their lives.
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