What is Early Intervention?
Early intervention is play-based language therapy provided to toddlers who are delayed in their development of speech and language.
PREDICTORS OF NEED FOR INTERVENTION
- Small vocabulary with limited verbs
- Language comprehension delay
- Few vocalizations, limited consonants or vowels
- Limited variety in babbling
- Restricted syllable structure
- Few spontaneous imitations
- Little or no pretend play
- Few communicative gestures
- Reduced rate of communication
- Frustration and behavioral problems
WHO IS AT RISK?
- Children with a history of developmental disorders or prematurity
- Children with hearing impairments
- Children with language or sensory deprivation
- Children with a family history of delayed speech and language
A comprehensive evaluation may assess the following areas:
- Expressive language (what the child says)
- Receptive language (what the child understands)
- Play skills
- Feeding skills
Following this, a treatment program is devised that is best-suited to meet the child’s individual needs. Suggestions for facilitating language are also provided to the child’s caregivers, who are actively included in the evaluation and treatment processes.
Treatment is conducted in the form of play-based, child-centered language therapy. In this spontaneous play setting, several goals may be targeted depending on the child’s needs. Goals may include:
- Expansion of vowels and consonants
- Expansion of word shapes
- Increased single-word and two-word combinations
- Overall expansion of utterances
- Improved play skills
- Improved comprehension
Research has shown that intensive, frequent early intervention services are the most beneficial for children with a speech and language delay.