Did you know that about 1 in 6 children are born with a developmental delay? Unfortunately, the number of children growing up with a developmental disability is also continuing to increase. A developmental disability can affect a child’s ability to learn, solve problems and communicate effectively, skills that many take for granted. This is why programs that aim to provide support to children early are so important to provide them with the tools they need to live independent lives.
What’s Early Childhood Early Intervention
Early childhood intervention (ECEI) is a term used to describe a range of support services that are aimed at helping children from birth to the age of 7 who have developmental delays or disabilities. The earlier a child can access intervention services, the better. This is because young brains are typically more flexible making it the most opportunistic time to learn new skills and take on substantial amounts of information.
ECEI has historically been shown to produce great results for children who need it. It can help with their social, emotional and physical development as well as give them a better chance at academic success when they reach school age.
How Does the NDIS Help Children Who Need Support?
The NDIS can help children with developmental delays or disabilities access the early childhood intervention services they need. To be eligible for the ECEI, a child must have a permanent disability that significantly affects their ability to take part in everyday activities.
How Does Early Childhood Early Intervention Work?
Early childhood intervention services are designed to meet the specific needs of each child. Your child’s individual plan will be developed in collaboration with their parents and Carers and will be designed to nurture and support your child’s strengths, interests and abilities.
The type of intervention a child will receive will depend on their specific needs but may include speech pathology, occupational therapy, psychology and physiotherapy. Early childhood intervention services can be provided in a variety of settings including the home, childcare centres, kindergarten or preschool.
The NDIS can also provide support by providing your child access to assistive technology. Assistive technology is equipment that allows your child to complete a task they wouldn’t otherwise be able to perform by themselves.
Parents play a vital role in their child’s early intervention journey. They are the ones who know their child best and are therefore in the best position to advocate for their needs. It’s a collaborative effort with parents, carers, professionals and most importantly, the child at the centre.
Why is Early Childhood Early Intervention Important for Children?
There are many reasons why early childhood intervention is so important for children.
- It can help them to develop the skills they need to live independent and fulfilling lives.
- It can help children to form positive social relationships and improve their communication skills.
- It can contribute to helping make a child more confident to participate in the activities that interest them
- It can also help to reduce the impact of their disability on their family and carers.
- It can reduce the need for care into adult life.
How Can a Parent Access Early Childhood Support and What Are the Requirements?
If you think your child may benefit from early childhood intervention services, the first step is to speak to your GP or another health professional. Access to funding for ECEI is taken on a case-by-case basis so once they’ve made an assessment, they will be able to determine your child’s requirements and refer you to the appropriate services. In order to access early childhood intervention services, your child must be under the age of seven and have a developmental delay or disability.
Some of the disabilities that typically qualify a child for ECEI include:
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Hearing or vision impairment
- Global Developmental Delay
- Cerebral palsy
- Down syndrome
- Fragile X syndrome
Reach Out to Us
If you want to give your child a great headstart in life, consider enrolling them in an ECEI program. ECEI can improve your child’s confidence, their capacity to learn, and help them live independent lives into adulthood. Reach out to OSAN Ability Assist on 1300 799 941 if you have any questions about our ECEI programs, Support Workers or how we can help your family. We’re here to help!