Mom and daughter studing The term early intervention(or EI) , refer's to services given to very young children with special needs, with the purpose of lessening the effects of the condition.

Services may include speech, physical or occupational therapy, and can be provided in the home or at an office.

The hope is that these services, provided early, will help any delays in development so that the child will not need therapy later on.

If, however, when your child reaches a school going age and still needs therapy, there are remedial schools catering for a variety of special needs.

At many of these schools, therapies are worked into the child's day as part of the remedial curriculum.


There are three main reasons why early intervention is so important and needs to begin as early as possible;

It helps to promote your childs developement, it is a support system not only for the child, but also for the family, and finally it gives your child the abilities to become a function member of society.

  • Developement - Research has shown us that most of a childs learning and developement, happens in the pre-school years, which is why the timing of intervention is so important. All children have what we call "stages of readiness" to learn, and if you miss these stages, your child may have difficulty in learning particular skills later on.
  • Support system - This is extemely important for any family with a special needs child. We have a lot to cope with in the early days, after a diagnosis, dissapointment, frustration and helplessness. Many families of handicapped children also have to deal with divorce and some degree of social isolation. That's why stepping in early can definetly give your family the tools to have a beter attitude within the family and towards the special needs child. Your therapists can provide you with information and skills to teach and help your child t best of your abilities, thereby relieving alot of stress and feelings of helplessness. Take advantage of friends and family who offer to help, you need to take time out, you are afterall more than just a mother and a wife.
  • Society - We would all like our children to become function and contributing members of society, so start implementing the skills your child needs to do this, as early as possible. Become involved in your child's treatment, and implement all the skills that your therapist suggest into your daily routine.


Boy sitting on books After the diagnosis, your peadiatrician may have spoken to you about EI, or you may just be worried that your child is not developing as he should.

You are worried but the idea of getting help, is just as scary because then you will be admitting that there is actually something wrong. It can be so tempting to just carry on as you are and hope for the best, but these are bad reasons, here's why:

  • You don't want to "label" your child.Alot of children who have early intervention go onto regular schools eventualy.It is beter to label now, so that there is no need to label later. As your child gets older, the "labels" that come later, tend to stick alot harder.
  • Everybody,especially those who are not in your shoes, always seem to have the best advise on what to do,but as a parent, you have the last say. You are the one that spends the most time with your child, and if you have concerns, they need to be respected - if not by others, then by you. Go with your gut!
  • My child will catch up on his own.Maybe, but you are taking a huge risk in waiting.If your child is still delayed when they are six years old, there is no turning back the clock to try intervening now...it's to late. Intervening early, will do no harm, but a great deal of good in the long run, so why take the chance when you don't have to?
  • My child needs to have fun and play, not go to therapy.Early intervention is not a form of punishment, it is fun.Your child will think he is playing, as he does things to strengthen his motor skills and improve his speech.As you get more involved with your child's therapies, you will realise how much fun you two can have together, while learning without even realising you're doing it.

  • I will work with child, myself.Good idea, because implementing your child's therapies into daily routine will only benefit your child in the long run. There are only so many hours in the day, and doing early intervention doesn't mean doing nothing else.You still need early intervention therapists, to give you the correct guidlines and techniques to get the most out of child, so much more effectively. You are not a trained proffesional - get the correct help, more maximum effectiveness!

If you're looking for something specific, here's your chance to go searching... The Web The special needs child

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