You sit at the sofa and observe your child playing in front of you, in the living area. Your child seems fixated on spinning the ball or spinning the clip. You see that your child has short attention span on things that particularly don’t interest your child, even though other children seems to enjoy those things. You see that your child is not developing well as the siblings; crawl slower, not speaking yet, growth rate is lower than average. Will you be concerned?
It is important to take note of your child’s progress and development in the early years as it will show you the possible trajectory that a child’s growth may take. In this modern times, developmental checklists can be easily accessible from the internet; just type ‘developmental checklist for children’ in the search engine and you will be exposed to the thousands of pages and sites that has the information. In Singapore, we do have the website healthxchange.sg that parents can refer to where they have collated the checklist from KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital.
But you do have to bear in mind that each child does have a different growth trajectory and path hence, most parents with more than one children may agree with me, children development differs from one child to another. A child may take longer to speak but are better in motor skills as compared to the other siblings. A child may not be able to read but speaks well and is creative. So, the question is, when should parents consider to have early intervention?
It is recommended that if a child struggles in two or more domains of developmental growth (cognitive development, motor skills, social, language & communication, emotional, self-help skills) and there is notable delay in the developmental growth or skills, then the child should be brought to the paediatrician to be assessed. This assessment should be for recommendation for early intervention, but in some cases the recommendation to be formally diagnosed may be given so that the child can have access to the support or accommodations needed for learning. Hence if your child has been recommended to do early intervention, then please do it. This is so that your child will not be further disadvantaged in his/her development.
There are different types of early intervention strategies and approaches, such as behavioural based, routine-based or play based approach. Do talk to professionals and find out about these approaches before figuring out which approach will work best for your child and for you. Why you? Because the approaches and strategies will not work for your child if you and the other main caregivers of your child are not able to adopt and follow through with the strategies. Early intervention is not for your child only. Early intervention is a family oriented intervention. You may send your child to the most expensive program, covering all the domains by different experts, and have your child attend the sessions daily to record progress, but it will still not beat the holistic progress that a child will make when the intervention is done in the centre or school with the professional and at home too with the parents/caregivers.
We will share more about the different types of early intervention strategies in upcoming posts. If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please feel free to post a comment. Please invite and share this blog and our other posts to other parents or caregivers who may benefit from our sharing so that it will be of help to them.
Thank you and till next time!