What is Early Intervention?
Early Intervention (EI) services are provided to children with disabilities or developmental delays at three years. These interventions are designed to help improve the child's development and integrate him into community life.
EI involves a family-centered approach that helps include the parents as active participants in their child's development process. Children who have been exposed to early intervention are more likely to do well in school, gain employment, live independently, and participate successfully in social activities. These benefits can last a lifetime if their needs continue beyond adolescence into adulthood.
Although early intervention may not eliminate future problems for some children, it does provide a better chance for healthy growth and development than not receiving any treatment. Early intervention is often included in an individualized education program (IEP), which helps children with special needs. The IEP addresses the child's educational and functional requirements and creates a path for their development.
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5 Benefits of Early Intervention Services
Early Intervention empowers families to help their child reach their true potential.
Early Intervention identifies physical health problems early on.
Early Intervention helps a child develop skills and become independent.
Early Intervention reduces the need for special education.
Early Intervention gives families the chance to monitor their child's development.
1. Early Intervention empowers families to help their child reach their true potential
It helps parents increase their knowledge about their child's disability to provide appropriate care and support for them at home. It also allows them to work with professionals from different agencies who can help improve the child's development through teaching, training, counseling, etc., and provide financial support if needed.
By working together, professionals can communicate better about what each has learned from watching how a child interacts with his environment. Everyone involved can clearly understand what the child needs at home, school, and other community settings.
3. Early Intervention helps a child develop skills and become independent
It can help children develop new skills, increase what they can do independently for themselves, and improve the quality of their life. It also gives them more opportunities to make choices about how they spend their time, so they feel good about themselves, putting them on the right path for emotional development.
When children have positive experiences with other people, it helps them build stronger relationships within their community and family members.
Early intervention programs can help promote social interaction by putting together children with similar disabilities who may be at the same developmental stage to play with one another while being observed by EI professionals.
This allows professionals to offer parents guidance regarding how to provide for their child's needs based on what they've observed in the children.
2. Early Intervention identifies physical health problems early on
It helps ensure that physical health problems are identified early on, which will allow treatment to begin immediately instead of after more damage is done. Early identification also provides that children are better able to receive adequate nutrition and maintain an appropriate weight.
Low birth weight or failure to thrive, babies often experience a developmental delay because they may not receive sufficient resources for their brain development. If these infants were provided with early intervention services through EI, it would help them catch up faster by providing additional resources beyond those available in their homes.
4. Early Intervention reduces the need for special education
It reduces the need for special education by implementing appropriate early intervention services that address each child's needs effectively and efficiently.
If parents are provided with information about their child's disability, they will be better equipped to get them into an EI program quickly so their skill level can stay at a functional rather than developmental stage.
This allows children to gain confidence and experience success without waiting until they reach school-age because it gives them opportunities to practice skills outside of a formal educational setting.
By attending an EI program, these children learn which abilities come naturally and which ones need work before they can be mastered. They also discover how much time is required for practice and repetition before something becomes second nature.
5. Early Intervention gives families the chance to monitor their child's development
It helps support families and caregivers by giving them a chance to learn ways of monitoring their child's development. Sometimes it is difficult for parents to know whether or not the progress they see in their child is because they have been learning something new or if it was already part of their ability and hadn't shown itself until now.
For example, a three-year-old may seem like he knows how to express his wants and needs verbally, but can you be sure? Maybe this child has mastered pointing and grunting.
However, his mother assumed he was too young to communicate as such. This kind of assumption could lead her to think that her son isn't developing as well as other kids his age because she isn't sure what to look for.
An early intervention program would allow professionals to support the parents as they observe their child and offer advice regarding meeting his needs. It could also ease their concerns about whether or not the progress they're seeing is typical of children that age, which would help them feel more confident about providing for those needs on their own.
Check out our article on early intervention services to see if EI is the right fit for you and your child.