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Early intervention programs turn hope into reality for kids with developmental disorders

November 28, 2018

There are trained, skilled professionals and organizations in India that help out children with developmental disabilities with early intervention programmes. Yet, many parents do not access them at the right time and it is important for the government to take up initiatives that ensure all children undergo early screening.

What is early intervention? This is crucial for any child with a developmental disorder as it gives timely insight into their developmental delays and health conditions. Through the right programs, the child benefits later on in life.

Early intervention is usually done for children until six years of age. That is when the physical and mental growth can be rightly assessed. For instance, some children with autism might be non-verbal. But with the right speech therapies, they will be able to communicate basic things in due course of time.

Early intervention hugely impacts the overall learning and holistic development of an infant or a young child. They learn, experience and apply their activities of daily living with ease whether it is in the field of academics, self help skills, social interaction, physical development and communication. They also learn to work with confidence in an adaptive environment. - Nandita Paul, Special Educator.

There are various methods for early intervention. Screening and assessment, psychological services, speech and language therapies, medical and nursing services, physical and occupational therapies, hearing and vision services are some of the most commonly used ones.

"Most parents do not realise its relevance", says Shakila Banu, Founder of JDC Sparsha, a school that reaches out to kids with disabilities. "We try to make them aware, but often they refuse to listen to us. They wait for a few years and then come back to us but often it's too late. Our target is a time span of three months to provide the right program for a child. In a month's time, most children start showing improved social skills, communication, eye contact and even start following commands. Most of our kids have benefitted through early intervention".

Early intervention enhances quality of living, makes kids independent and improves the capacity of families to meet their child's needs. With the right guidance and support from experts regarding early intervention, parents can ensure that their child with a developmental disorder will have a good quality of life in years to come.

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