As pediatric therapists, we tend to take the importance of early intervention as a given.
Many parents, however, many not be fully aware of these benefits. If they notice delays in their child’s development, some parents may choose to take a ‘wait and see’ approach and hold off on seeking help for far too long.
The truth is that early intervention is absolutely essential for achieving the best results for your child. According to the CDC, “early intervention services can change a child’s developmental path and improve outcomes for children, families, and communities.”
In this article, we’ll discuss why early intervention is so crucial for healthy development. We’ll also talk a bit about how parents can spot signs of delays early on and take action quickly to produce the best possible results for their child.
Did you know that the human brain matures fastest during the toddler and preschool years? In fact, the typical brain reaches half of its adult size by just the third month after birth.
However, rapid growth is only half the story. The brain is also more plastic—more capable of being changed—than at any point in life.
Pediatric therapists are specially trained to take advantage of the brain’s early-age plasticity. Therapy during these years is highly effective because therapists can identify and address developmental delays before they grow into more serious difficulties later in life.
In short, early intervention will enable your child to thrive.
A child’s brain is like plaster. When it’s still fresh and soft, any cracks or dents can easily be smoothed out. But once the plaster dries and hardens, even relatively minor issues become much harder to correct.
Are you wondering whether your child might benefit from early intervention? Reach out to us anytime!
Our team of compassionate and highly experienced pediatric therapists will work with you to determine your child’s unique needs and whether they would benefit from an evaluation.
We’ll walk you through all the expected milestones and provide crucial tips and advice for home practice.
When to Seek Early Intervention
All children are different. Even within one family, every child develops skills at their own unique pace.
For this reason, we at TherapyWorks present developmental milestones in a ‘range format.’ For example, a child’s first words may occur anywhere in their first 6–12 months. So long as your child develops skills within the presented ranges, there is no cause for concern.
If your child is late to develop one particular skill, this doesn’t necessarily mean they are developmentally delayed. It simply means you should seek an expert pediatric therapist’s opinion on the matter.
If evaluation or therapy is not warranted, your therapist will instead provide home practice options and information on developmental skills. They will make sure you know what to be aware of as your child develops and grows.
There are five key areas of developmental milestones for babies and toddlers:
- Physical skills: these include things like growth, movement, and motor functions.
- Cognitive skills: cognitive skills range from thinking and learning to problem-solving and other basic mental tasks.
- Communication skills: this includes talking, nonverbal gesturing, facial expressions, and so on. It also involves listening to, understanding, and showing interest in others.
- Self-help skills: these are activities that a child must learn to do unaided, such as eating and getting dressed.
- Social-Emotional Skills: social and emotional skills include playing, connecting and interacting with others, and self-regulating by keeping their emotions in check.
In all of these areas, early intervention will catch delays quickly and enable your child to grow and prosper.
If you are concerned about your child’s development in any of these above areas, please reach out to us. We’re always happy to offer a free phone consultation to learn more about your child’s unique needs and make recommendations.
Here are some of our favorite articles and websites on the importance of early intervention and development:
- From Birth Engage Your Child with Talk by Jane Brody, New York Times, 2009
- Diane Bahr’s books and articles are great resources for prevention of developmental delays and practical everyday tips: net
- American Speech Language Hearing Association: org
- Early Identification of Speech, Language and Hearing Issues
Finally, feel free to check out the TherapyWorks blog.