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Early Intervention: Objectives and Services

written by: Elizabeth Wistrom • edited by: Elizabeth Stannard Gromisch • updated: 1/5/2012

The main objective of early intervention services is to provide assistance to children with disabilities or developmental delays. The target group is children aged birth to three. Learn more about this concept here.

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    Early childhood intervention usually refers to services that are intended for those tender-aged children who are diagnosed as special needs. Early childhood intervention programs are meant for those children who have physical disabilities and need special care in the years prior to turning three. It is due to this fact that sometimes these services are also known as "Zero to 3" or "Birth to 3" programs.

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    The Objective

    The main objectives of early invention services are to provide assistance with both cognitive and developmental delays, as well as to provide assistance with self-help and social skills during the course of a child's formative years. Early intervention programs and services take special care of children with disabilities and evaluate their educational gains and social skills during the course of the year.

    If overall development of the child is less than expected, early intervention services address any kind of delays in the development process and makes provisions for the child's next phase of learning. If your child continuously needs these services even after three years of age, then the early intervention program assists parents with transitioning the child to a preschool or elementary school setting that provides special education services needed.

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    List of Services

    Early intervention programs usually include services like occupational therapy, physical therapy, hearing impairment services, psychological therapy or evaluation, service coordination, nutrition services, medical services, assistive technology, social work services and speech therapy. These services are either provided in the home of the child or at the respective offices offering these services. If you are in a dilemma as to what help the early invention professionals can offer you, one important resource is the website of the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities. Here, you can search through the relevant information to find exactly what you are looking for.

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    Effective Early Intervention and Autism Treatment

    Applied Behavior Analysis or ABA is known to be the most common form of treatment in early childhood intervention, and has been marked as an effective program in helping children who have autism spectrum disorder by helping them perform normally under various circumstances. ABA also helps children with ASD grasp concepts gradually during the course of time, which other children may find difficult to grasp at the very first instance of learning.

    Parents should realize that using ABA with early intervention does not make any guarantees, it is recognized as an effective method in treating learning skills and socialization.

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    Final Note on Early Intervention

    Early childhood intervention programs not only help exceptional children, they can also be beneficial to families who often feel socially isolated due to their child's disability. The sooner a child is reached through an intervention program, the sooner the parents receive the tools they need to cope with their child's disability, and assist in therapies designed to improve their child's quality of life - both socially and academically.