Early Intervention (EI) is rooted in the values of inclusion and full participation of children and families in the community. EI offers a fully integrated system of developmental and educational services designed to assist children with autism, physical and intellectual disabilities, and delays in speech and language.
Early Intervention Services include the following therapies:
- Special instruction
- Occupational therapy
- Physical therapy
- Speech and language therapy
Through play, infants, toddlers and young children explore their world. Play at each of these age levels differs greatly, but one common theme remains: learning through exploration. Special instructors play with children to enhance skills in all areas of development: cognitive, adaptive, social-emotional, language and motor. With exposure to various toys and movement activities, children have the opportunity to learn how to interact with family and peers, express their needs, and explore their environment. Through play, special instructors help families implement therapeutic strategies into their daily routines.
Occupational therapists address the functional skills and interaction of infants and toddlers and their caregivers within their daily routines. These routines include self-care, sleep, play, fine motor skills and sensory processing, which includes touch and movement. The occupational therapist works closely with family members and caregivers to focus on the child’s strengths and needs within their natural setting.
In early intervention, physical therapists help children learn to roll, sit, crawl, stand, and walk. The therapist supports the family/caregiver in ways that they can incorporate movement into their child’s daily routines. The therapist may also help the family with decisions on adaptive equipment (walkers, orthotics, etc.), if the child would benefit.
Speech and Language Therapy
Speech and language therapists are concerned with how children understand their world and their ability to interact with their family and peers. Depending on a child’s need, speech therapists may focus on receptive language, expressive communication, articulation, fluency and/or feeding and swallowing. Family and caregiver involvement is key to learning how to encourage a child’s language development during his or her daily routines.