Early Intervention – what does it mean?
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Early Intervention – what does it mean?

It basically means that a child is given support and intervention from a very young age. The years between birth and going to school. Many break development into stages for example the Early Childhood Development Stage after which come the School Readiness Stage and then the Formal Education Stage. Early intervention would fit into the ECD and School Readiness Stages of a child’s development.

For children with autism early intervention can make the worlds difference. Many people believe that waiting is the best course of action when a child shows development delays of some sort. Speech delays in particular tend to get ignored until as late as 4 or even 5 years.

My personal experience with speech delays is that a large portion of society seems to believe that there are no non-speaking people in this world… I remember people telling me that I must not worry about my daughters speech delays – making statements such as: “ have you ever met a non-speaking person” … or “everybody speaks eventually”.

I often see posts on social media where parent re-assure other parents saying things like :”my son only started talking at 4 years – give yours time he/she will get there” Or “don’t worry mommy – my child did not speak until she was 6 – now she won’t stop talking”.

The truth is that not all children that have speech delays will start talking. Speech is not something that everybody has and/or develops and many people – not just autistics lives without spoken language.

In the same breath many people can speak but still have debilitating communication difficulties which will affect them for the rest of their lives. Communication affects the way a child learns, studies and integrated into groups. Verbal Autistics are more often than not misunderstood just because they can talk. It seems to make them less autistic?  Or does it?

Speech is bigger than words. Speech is receptive language skills and expressive language skills. How information is received, processed and responded to. Explanations and conversations all form part of language and most importantly a child that struggles with speech/communication will in 9/10 instances also struggle with other areas of development many of which will only be visible when the child gets older.

Don’t ignore the delays. Don’t think that just because the child develops words that they do not have a speech/communication delay. Get them the help they need because getting services early helps children catch up and increase their chance for success in school and life overall.

Early Intervention offers a range of targeted services to help young children who have development delays. Different types of specialists work together to formulate an individualized education program – also known as an IEP.

Getting your child the help when you first become concerned by a speech or other delay may help reduce the need for specialized instructional support during a child’s school years.

Amazing K is a registered ECD and Partial Care Facility in Johannesburg. We are a private day school and therapy centre for children from age 2 years. Our learners receive the best of both the schooling and therapy world. We offer Individualized Education Programs, ABA, Speech- and Augmentive Alternative Communication (AAC) therapy as well as a full and adapted Academic Curriculum. Read more about us.

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