Early intervention also refers to preventative services which are designed to enhance the social, academic, and emotional development of young children from conception to 3 years of age. Early intervention services can include but are certainly not restricted to the following interventions: tutoring for At-Risk children, teaching parents, monitoring and assessing at-risk children while they do their homework, participating in group therapy sessions, and facilitating family counseling. The primary goal of early intervention is to ensure that children get the support and assistance they need to flourish in daily life. Below is a brief outline of when and what to provide for an infant or toddler with autism.
The very first sign of a child who might need early intervention support is a child who is not communicating with their parents or caregivers. This can be detected through such things as: not responding to their parent’s cues, not making eye contact with them, and having tantrums and not being able to communicate their needs in a normal fashion. If you notice any of these behaviors, then it is important to talk to your child’s pediatrician as soon as possible. When talking with your child and with their pediatrician, it is important to be as calm and polite as possible. Don’t be afraid to show frustration or anger. This will help to establish a relationship of trust between you and your child, which are extremely important to help establish early intervention support.
The second type of early intervention support is a parent’s education regarding autism. It is important for a parent to be completely aware of the fact that their child has autism, and what the symptoms of autism are. The parent is then encouraged to seek out support groups, programs, and individuals who deal specifically with this disorder. The parent is also able to take home much needed information with them about how to better interact with their child and with other people, in order to make them feel more comfortable in their own skin. It is imperative that the parent educate themselves about autism in order to give their child the best possible chance at having a normal and healthy life.
Another type of early intervention support is the social skills classes that can be provided to the parents and to the child. These classes will teach the parents how to make their child feel more confident when they are with their peers and how to better understand how to approach and talk to their children. These classes will teach the child how to accept their uniqueness and their differentness from others. It is not good enough for an autistic child to just be accepted; the child must have an understanding of that uniqueness and how to treat it. This is the only way for the child to learn to function fully within society, and in the best possible manner.
Early intervention support is also needed by the parents of autistic children, particularly the parents of young children. When a child is very young, he/she may be unable to communicate with anyone, so the parents must be able to learn to effectively communicate with their child in order to build an environment which will create the opportunity for communication. They must be able to work closely with their child in order to teach them how to express themselves, as well as how to make friends.
The parents of autistic children might need help in this area, as well, since they are the ones most likely to be interacting with their child most frequently. In fact, it has been proven that the more social interaction the child has, the more that the child is able to develop in a healthy manner. Therefore, the parents are the ones who are going to need the most help when trying to find a social setting for their child, whether that is with family or with other peers.
An additional area of need for the parents of autistic children is that of educational intervention. There are many professionals who can help teach the child how to interact with others, including how to read, write, and even count. The more the child learns in school, the easier it will be for him/her to function within society. It has also been found that early intervention, especially when it comes to education, can have a tremendous impact on the performance of a child on standardized tests later in life.
Early intervention is something that every family must deal with. If you suspect your child may have autism, you should not hesitate to make an appointment with his/her pediatrician and ask for information about autism, along with any other questions that you may have. Your doctor can do a thorough physical exam, as well as gather information from the child about his/her own preferences and interests. This will allow you to decide if you would like to bring your child into the world or if you should wait to see what happens.