Why Early Intervention?

I recently received this message from a parent: “My child is 2, almost 3, I have concerns about her communication but my mom thinks it might be too early to bring her in for speech therapy.” And my response to this was, “It’s never too early for speech therapy!” because early intervention is so important and has so many benefits for your child’s development. 

But why is that? Why do so many professionals mention “early intervention”? 

Early intervention is not just treatment, it’s also assessment – determining whether there are concerns with your child’s development for which they would need support. You might notice as early as 6 months that your child is not meeting certain developmental milestones. Sometimes, the cause for concern might not be that obvious, but either way, it’s best to consult with developmental specialists for screenings/assessments to check whether your child’s development is occurring typically. 

If you’ve determined that there are enough concerns that would warrant your child receiving therapies like speech or occupational therapy, this is when you want to be proactive about starting those therapies early on – as early as 6-12 months in some cases. Here’s why: 

  1. Neuroplasticity: Young brains are highly malleable to change and development, meaning that support or stimulation that they receive very early on is likely to make an impact for the rest of their lives! So if we stimulate your child’s communication skills early on, it’s really going to help them develop effective communicative skills as they grow. 
  2. Compounding problems can be prevented: When early issues are left unaddressed, it can cause difficulty at stages of your child’s life where they need to focus on higher level skills, but the foundation for those skills has not been built. For example, a child with comprehension differences such as not responding to their name, is going to struggle when they start school and they’re given instructions. 
  3. The outcomes are better: This is backed by research. When early childhood development is supported, children are more likely to meet their developmental milestones and in some cases, they can catch up to their age peers. Giving support early on also helps individuals develop a sense of self and has better outcomes for mental health. 
  4. It can reduce your stress as a parent: Seeking professional support will help you to understand your child’s development, where they need support and how to provide the support – so you will have actionable steps and hope for improvement. 

Image by freepik

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