If a child experiences developmental delays in early childhood, early intervention greatly improves a child’s chances of developing positive behaviors. If a child exhibits problematic behaviors early on in development, these behaviors will become ingrained, if not addressed through early intervention. Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or other developmental delays may be referred for early intervention for a range of different concerns, including speech and language (to a speech-language pathologist), behavior concerns (to an ABA therapist), eating concerns (to a feeding therapist), or motor skills and other key skills to perform daily activities (to an occupational therapist).
Many professionals will recommend that children receive early intervention (if possible) by or before the age of three. These years are also important in the development of the brain. If a pediatrician observes developmental delays in a infant or toddler, they may be able to refer the parents of the child to seek an initial assessment or evaluation from a local professional. Children are regularly tested throughout early childhood development (until they reach the age of three) to ensure they are meeting the typical developmental milestones.
Early intervention speech therapy
An early intervention speech-language pathology evaluation may be performed for a child in a hospital or private practice. A speech-language pathologist (SLP) has a significant role in determining whether a child shows signs of communication, language, speech, feeding, or swallowing concerns. Since communication is a pivotal aspect of daily life for every individual, SLPs are important in early intervention plans.
Early intervention ABA therapy
A BCBA (or other behavior analysis professional) may perform an assessment for a child to determine the specific behaviors that should be targeted in ABA therapy. If the parents, pediatricians, or ABA therapist believe the child may have autism, a multidisciplinary team will be involved in the diagnosis process.
Early intervention feeding therapy
If a young child is failing to gain weight at the expected rate or exhibit extreme sensory aversions to certain foods, then they may be referred to a speech-language pathologist. Before a feeding therapist creates a treatment plan or begins treating a child, a speech-language pathologist will first evaluate whether the child has feeding and/or swallowing issues. Since parents are with their child for the majority of meals, they will be very involved in this treatment process.
Early intervention occupational therapy
Pediatric occupational therapists can perform evaluations to determine whether a child has delays that necessitate occupational therapy, such as delayed motor skills or sensory integration issues. Children who experience developmental delays or physical disabilities will often benefit from occupational therapy services.
Therapeutic preschool programs can benefit children as young as two years old, so this type of program may be a great fit for children who experience developmental delays or who require early intervention. Do you have questions about therapeutic preschool programs in Chicago? Contact CST Academy at 773-620-7800 to learn more about our wide range of services for children, including ABA therapy, feeding therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy.