Early Identification and Intervention: Meaning and Significance of Early Identification

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Meaning and Significance of Early Identification

  • Early Identification refers to the process of recognizing any disability or developmental variations in early childhood years and to understand the need of early intervention. Early identification of learning difficulty or any related developmental delays can make a huge and a positive difference in the life of children and their families.

  • Preschool and kindergarten teachers are at an advantageous position to catch the early signs and symptoms of a developmental delay or disability, and to identify children who are at risk in learning and school. Teachers need to be aware of symptoms and share their observations and concerns with parents and other school specialists.

  • The need for early identification of learning disabilities is highly related to potential. Children who may initially have been thought to have lower intelligence than their peers may have normal intelligence but may have some other difficulty or different style/approach of learning that prevents them from reaching their potential.

  • Early help can offer children the support needed to reach their full potential. It can improve the quality of a children’s life and enable them to perform better at school and in life later.

  • In order to diagnose a learning disability, it is necessary to establish that the child is experiencing an unexpectedly high level of difficulty in a particular academic area. For example, it is recognized that children with dyslexia will generally have ongoing difficulties reading accurately and fluently. It is not really easy to judge about academic performance too early, as all children make mistakes when they first start learning to read, spell, write and calculate. This is generally to be expected. It becomes ‘unexpected’ when these children progress very slowly or continue to struggle for a much longer period of time than the expected period.

  • Early identification is everyone’s responsibility: parents, teachers and other caregivers. There is an increased expectation of all school staff to identify a child who is struggling and put the support in place. Thus, it is important that they have the skills and knowledge they need, to be able to do so.

Identifying Children with Disabilities

Children with disabilities require interventions and support, if they are experiencing any of the following:

Identifying Children with Disabilities

Identifying Children with Disabilities

Difficulty in Oral Language

  • Slow development in speaking words or sentences (also referred to as, late talkers)

  • Pronunciation problems

  • Difficulty learning new words; slow vocabulary growth

  • Difficulty finding the right word to use when speaking

  • Difficulty understanding and following simple (one-step) directions

  • Difficulty understanding questions

  • Difficulty recognizing or learning rhyming words

  • Lack of interest in storytelling

Difficulty in Reading and Writing Skills

  • Slow speed in naming objects and colors

  • Limited phonological awareness (rhyming and syllable blending)

  • Difficulty understanding that written language is composed of phonemes (individual sounds) and letters that make up syllables and words

  • Minimal interest in print and limited print awareness

  • Difficulty recognizing and learning the letters of the alphabet

  • Difficulty learning the connection between letters and sounds

Difficulty Related to Cognition

  • Trouble memorizing the alphabet, numbers, days of the week etc.

  • Poor memory for what should be routine (everyday procedures)

  • Difficulty with cause and effect, sequencing, and counting

  • Difficulty with basic concepts, such as size, shape, and color

Difficulty in Motor Skills

  • Clumsiness

  • Poor balance

  • Difficulty with fine motor skills and manipulating small objects (stringing beads, tying shoes, buttoning)

  • Difficulty with running, jumping, or climbing (delayed gross motor skills)

Difficulty in Social Behavior

  • Trouble interacting with others or playing alone

  • Easily frustrated

  • Hard to manage, temper tantrums

  • Has difficulty following directions

  • Distracted easily and inattentive

  • Impulsive

  • Hyperactive

  • Difficulty in changing activities or handling disruptions to routines.

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