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  • Writer's pictureCarissa Johnson

The Importance of Early Intervention


If you have concerns about your child’s development, and if you voice those concerns to people in your life, you’re likely to get all kinds of different advice. Although most of the advice you get can be beneficial, some tips, like “wait and see” may actually do more harm than good.


All too frequently, those close to us (including medical practitioners!) will try and reassure families that they should "wait it out" when worries involving developmental issues arise.This can be problematic for a few reasons:

  1. As the parent, you are well aware of your child's needs and limits. If something doesn't feel right to you, it is likely because there may be cause for concern.

  2. If you notice your little one not meeting the expected developmental goals, we understand that early intervention is key to providing necessary support.

Too often, people think time will resolve the issue - however, oftentimes it is best to seek out a specialist (like us!!) for an assessment or screening as soon as possible.

Early intervention (plus a little proactive support at home) goes so far. It’s often free, always low-cost, and it can help your child so much. It’s something that all parents deserve to know about.


WHAT IS EARLY INTERVENTION?

“Early intervention is a publicly-funded program that provides targeted services for young children requiring support with their development. Dedicated to assisting young ones struggling with or at risk of developmental delays, disabilities, and health issues that impede their progression and education, this program works hard to improve the capabilities of these children while giving them a chance to acquire new abilities.

Early intervention services vary depending on where you live, but often include: speech language therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy.


The main goal of early intervention, according to the American Speech and Hearing Association, is to “lessen the effects of a disability or delay by addressing the identified needs of young children as soon as possible.”


WHO IS EARLY INTERVENTION FOR?

Early intervention is crafted to help families with children under the age of 3 who demonstrate a lag in speech language, cognitive or physical developmental stages.

Early intervention programs are available in every state and province, and because they’re publicly funded, the included services will either be free or available at a reduced cost for eligible families. The University of South Florida Bay Area Early Steps Program holds the Children's Medical Services Early Steps contract for the Bay Area, which covers Hillsborough and Polk Counties. To schedule an appointment and/or inquire about our services, you can call (813) 974-0602 or (866) 549-1740.


(If your child is above the age of three, do not fret; similar resources are still available. You can just acquire them through their school rather than via early intervention processes.


NO SUCH THING AS TOO EARLY (OR TOO LATE!)

Early intervention is a powerful tool. If your child requires assistance, it is almost certain to benefit them - and you! - by facilitating developments and producing a feeling of contentment and security.

Over and over again, families have expressed to us that they should have accessed support earlier in their child's life when developmental issues were first noticed. Unfortunately, too many parents wait for concerns to worsen before taking action--and end up regretting the decision of not seeking help sooner.Always remember that you know your child best. If you have concerns about their development, trust your instincts, and seek out support as soon as you can.


WHAT TO DO IF YOU’RE CONCERNED

If you’re worried or have concerns about your child’s development, discuss your concerns with your pediatrician. It’s okay to ask for a developmental screening or for a referral to a specialist.

For children in the Florida:


  • Under 3 years old: The University of South Florida Bay Area Early Steps Program is available to help you and your family get the support and resources you need. To learn more, contact us today at (813) 974-0602 or (866) 549-1740 or visit https://health.usf.edu/care/pediatrics/services-specialties/early-steps.

  • Over 3: Contact your local school district and ask for an assessment:

https://hillsborough.fdlrs.org/child-find

https://polkschoolsfl.com/eseprek/ child-find/


Early intervention is a vital part of your child’s development and future success. If you have any concerns about their progress, don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance as soon as possible. You know what’s best for your little one and making sure they get the help they need is always worth!! If you are interested in learning more about your child's speech and language skills or are interested in speech language therapy in Hillsborough or Polk county please contact Play On Words Therapy Solutions at 813-220-2730!!






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