Early intervention is a pivotal aspect in increasing your child’s ability to thrive within society. Typically, early interventions occur from birth to age five; a time period in which children don’t typically receive schooling, or in this case therapies. However, it is NEVER too early to start for our special kids! These early learning’s supply your child with building blocks to increase:
- Physical development a child’s ability to move, see and hear
- Language and speech development a child’s ability to talk and communicate
- Social and emotional development a child’s ability to play, interact and relate to others
- Adaptive development a child’s ability to handle self-care functions, such as feeding and dressing
- Cognitive development a child’s ability to think and learnRefer to http://www.earlyinterventionsupport.com/therapyoptions/early/default.aspx for more information
Developing these skills early on is fundamentally important to our special needs community. It’s what gives our kiddos a chance to be at a higher functioning level at an earlier age; instead of, for example, not learning how to put their clothes on independently until their late teen years when they could be learning basis work skills and be seeking some form of independence at this time.
Similarly, as our kids grow-up it’s important to be aware of some bad habits that could be forming; or to be looking for some potential warning signs for what’s to come. My brother, for example, was a sweet kid growing up; however, he became increasingly aggressive and violent as he became older. The primary reason for this was because he did not (at that time) have a substantially great way of communicating with us what his needs were. Finding an accurate way of communicating has significantly improved his life and has made him happier as a person, that and finding the right medications to keep him balanced.
Other warning signs that I have seen with a lot of my kids and the kids of my colleagues, is the need to work on flexibility. Sometimes, with autism in particular, our kiddos can be very “me” focused. Dealing with a consistent mind set of something along the lines of “Well why can’t I have it? I want it, so I should have it.” Saying no, and partaking in regular activities that are new can be highly beneficial to our kids and starting young will greatly increase their flexibility for when they are older. If your kiddo is needing that consistent routine then perhaps making Monday nights “Restaurant Night”, where you go to different eateries would help for consistency but still keeping with doing new things. And plenty of warning is always a good idea, “Okay so in one hour we are going to get ready to go to the car so we can go to the zoo!”, “Thirty more minutes and then we’re going to the car for the zoo!”, “Look there, in five more minutes we’ll be getting out of the car to go to the zoo!” It might seem redundant but a consistent reminder of these things really does help take the unknown out of the equation for our kiddos.
Then of course, pushing through an activity is a really good idea as well. “Okay I see that you are getting frustrated with this activity, but we got to finish and then it will be your turn to pick.” If it is something that they just can’t do at that moment, then take a break and come back to it in ten minutes or so. It’s important to come back to it so you are not sending them the message that if they act out that they will get their way in the future.
Overall, watching out for what some of our kids current behaviors could develop into later in life is quite necessary to improve their well being as well as our own. Some slightly aggressive behaviors today could lead to an awful situation to be in down the line, and coming up with early interventions is key to bettering these possible outcomes.