Early Identification and Intervention: Early Identification Strategies

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Early Identification Strategies

National Policy for Persons with Disabilities (2006) also emphasizes that children up to the age of six years may be identified at the earliest and necessary interventions be made urgently so that they are capable of joining inclusive education at the right age.

The identification process includes:

  • Screening: Screening refers to determining the areas where children need assistance. There should be a system to identify, locate, and evaluate all children with disabilities who need early intervention or special education services.

  • Risk indicators and protective factors: A range of environmental, biological, genetic, and prenatal conditions are associated with adverse developmental outcomes and may be considered as risk indicators or warning signs of learning disability. However, risk indicators do not always predict which children will have future learning problems. Risk indicators must be considered within the context of typical developmental expectations.

  • Systematic observations : Systematic observations of a child’s behavior and abilities over time is important. Observations may be informal or may follow a standard observation methodology. In either case, they should be conducted multiple times and in varying contexts . Observations should provide information of the frequency, consistency and severity of the behaviors leading to concerns.

  • Comprehensive evaluation: When a screening, a review of risk indicators and protective factors, and systematic observations suggest that a child is at risk then professionals should conduct periodic evaluations to ascertain whether development follows expected patterns. The major goal of a comprehensive evaluation is to determine the individual child’s specific pattern of abilities and needs and to identify strategies and resources to address learning and behavioral problems as soon as possible.

Early Identification Strategies

Early Identification Strategies

Proper identification is crucial for the implementation of appropriate and timely intervention. Early intervention to address developmental delays can make a crucial difference in the children’s life.

Early Interventions

  • Early intervention means doing things as early as possible to work on the child’s developmental, health and support needs. Early intervention services give specialized support to children and families in the early years, generally from birth until the child turns five.

  • Early intervention services are a range of special and specific services to help young children who have developmental delays. Different types of specialists work with these children giving them specialized support. Early intervention helps to address the developmental delays and can make a crucial difference in the children’s life.

A child who qualifies for an early intervention programme may receive one or more of these services:

  • Screening and assessment

  • Speech and language therapy

  • Physical or occupational therapy

  • Psychological services

  • Home visits

  • Medical, nursing or nutrition services

  • Hearing (audiology) or vision services

  • Social work services

  • Transportation or mobility

Advantages of Early Interventions

  • Improve children’s developmental, social and educational gains

  • Reduce feelings of isolation, stress and frustration that families may experience

  • Help alleviate and reduce behavioral issues by using positive behavior strategies and interventions

  • Help children with disabilities grow up to become productive, independent individuals

  • Reduce the future costs of special education, rehabilitation and healthcare needs

Strategies for Early Intervention

  • Intensive early intervention for children with disability is the most effective kind of intervention. Parents and teachers are usually the first interventionists for developmentally delayed infants and young children.

  • Different children respond in different ways to interventions, so no single programme will suit all children and their families. Focus on what the child requires. A good intervention involves regular assessment to ensure that the child is making progress. Many children with a disability can benefit from some type of early intervention or therapy.

For example:

  • Occupational therapy can help with fine motor skills, play and self-help skills like dressing and toilet training

  • Physiotherapy can help with motor skills like balance, sitting, crawling and walking

  • Speech therapy can help with speech, language, eating and drinking skills

A variety of some other child-focused strategies have shown evidence of success including interacting with peers, prompts, modeling techniques and intermittent reinforcement. These strategies should be implemented with uniformity, conformity and regularity. Parents and educators need to be properly trained to implement these teaching strategies.

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