As a parent, you do all you can to ensure your child is primed to live a full, happy life.
Though it may not be ideal for when your child doesn’t hit their developmental milestones as expected, this doesn’t mean you can’t assist them in growing up to be a wonderful person. If you notice that your child is experiencing developmental delays or other brain development issues, early intervention can make all the difference. Provided to eligible participants under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), early intervention therapy can greatly benefit children on the autism spectrum. Children with autism are able to love and accomplish just as much as anyone else as long as you look out for them. If you’re at all concerned about your child and their development, it’s important you begin treatment for any possible disorders as soon as possible.
Understanding the Nature of Early Intervention
You may not be familiar with early intervention, as it is a relatively new program that was developed in the 1990’s. Early intervention is a variety of systematized services that can help children who have autism or other pervasive developmental disorders. Local physicians can determine whether or not a child is eligible for early intervention therapy through a medical screening. The treatment provided can not only help with the healthy development of your child, but also works to improve parenting skills, familial tension, and more. Parenting a child with autism can be difficult at times, but there are services available that can help your family be as strong as ever. All it takes is some proper counseling and support that are always provided with your family’s best interests in mind. Every state is different in regards to determining who is eligible for early intervention. You’ll want to check with your doctor or pediatrician to learn more about how early intervention is offered in your state and whether or not it could aid your child.
How It Works
Early intervention is generally provided to children between the ages of 0-3 who are either diagnosed with or showing signs of a developmental disability. In some instances, doctors can determine immediately whether or not your baby will need early intervention. This can be due to a preterm birth, low weight, or an illness. In other cases, signs of a developmental disorder may not be apparent until your child is older, at which point you should contact your doctor to schedule a proper evaluation. In any case, parents who believe their child may have a developmental disability should take action promptly. Treating a developmental disorder is much more effective in the early, critical years of your child’s life. If you’re worried about the costs of medical evaluations and treatment, fear not!
Early intervention is free of charge, ensuring all families regardless of income are able to provide quality support for their child.
Getting an evaluation by your doctor to determine if your child is eligible for early intervention will come at no cost to you. Before a screening takes place, you’ll want to locate the early intervention program in your community and work with a service coordinator to take you through the process. Your service coordinator will ensure your child is being properly assessed and that you, the parents, are provided with all the information regarding the evaluation. As parents, you play an important role in the treatment of your child, as you know them better than anyone. Your cooperation is vital to ensuring your little one receives specialized care for their specific needs. Is money tight in your family? No problem! The costs of all tests and screenings are covered under IDEA.
When to Introduce Early Intervention Therapy
If you have any concern that your child is not developing at the same pace as other children, you should voice your concerns to your family pediatrician as soon as possible. Be sure to explainto them any abnormal behavior or actions that may be indicative of a developmental disorder. Your pediatrician is sanctioned to determine the eligibility of your child for early intervention services, at which point you will collaborate with early intervention specialists on an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). You will work closely with a dedicated team to create an individualized plan for your child that caters to their particular needs. Your support is invaluable, as the love and support you provide means the absolute world to your child. The process can take roughly 45 days from start to finish, which is all the more reason you should seek an evaluation right away if you have any concerns.
Children with autism are especially likely to be eligible for early intervention support. While autism in children is typically not diagnosed till at least 18 months, behavioral signs of autism can begin to emerge in children as early as 6 months. It’s never too early for a developmental evaluation of your child to ensure their complete well-being, so contact your doctor to schedule a free screening.
What Kind of Early Intervention Services Are Available?
While early intervention is primarily focused on developing your son or daughter’s basic skills, there are also services offered that aim to help the entire family. IDEA’s mission is to provide families with the resources and tools they need to not only support their child, but themselves. Early intervention can aid many facets of familial issues, such as:
- Diminishing negative feelings of anxiety and frustration within the family
- Improving parenting techniques to maximize your child’s potential
- Reducing costs of special education services and related medical expenses
- Teaching effective ways to encourage the positive growth of your child
Creating a positive environment for your child to grow up in is vitally important. Becoming a stronger family means learning to manage autism to a point where it’s no longer a hindrance. You will learn to love the unique, beautiful person that is your child. In return, they’ll be more likely to grow up to be a capable, talented individual.
While the initial screening and work done with your early intervention program will be free of charge, additional services might have to be paid for. This all depends on your state’s handling of IDEA and their policies regarding it. In any case, children who need early intervention will never be denied access due to the inability to afford it. Speak with your pediatrician or service coordinator to learn more about which services could specifically aid your family.