Ask any architect, and they will tell you the importance of a strong foundation. Once the foundation is in place and the supports are provided, a beautiful house can be built. Likewise, the early years of your child are of paramount importance, especially if they are at risk or have special needs. With the right support, focus and professional guidance, any child can be enabled to build a beautiful life. Early Intervention is required to ensure the child receives this support.
What is Early Intervention?
Fortunately, the world is moving ahead in the space of inclusion and there is a lot more awareness that children with special needs require support from the beginning. Therefore, early diagnosis and intervention is of utmost importance.
Early intervention is defined as a group of strategies that provide adequate support to children with additional support needs as well as to their families and caregivers. To put it simply, these strategies ensure that your child is able to cope better as they grow.
The relationship between the child and teacher
Ideally, early intervention can start only after diagnosis, which can be done only after your child has turned 4 or 5 years old. During their early years, children spend a majority of their waking hours with their teachers. Often, we undermine the importance of our pre-school and kindergarten teachers. However, in case of early intervention, there are pivotal to the child’s success.
Teachers are the ones creating the foundation for all children to grow and succeed. Hence, they should be given training in identification of children with additional support needs. They should be included in creating the curriculum and designing the syllabus. They are the core of the development of a child with additional needs and they must have the resources to ensure they can be productive.
Unfortunately, the importance of these teachers is being undervalued both by schools as well as parents. Schools need to start looking at primary teachers more favourably and parents need to recognise the impact these teachers have on their child’s life. If the teacher at the kindergarten does not teach a child the alphabets, it is that much harder for them to cope when they reach higher grades. For a child with additional needs, a teacher’s support could mean the difference of whether they would be able to cope, feel included and excel in our society.
Early diagnosis, intervention and a teacher’s role in this process must be given more attention. Otherwise, we all fail in supporting a child when they require it the most.
The Opinions expressed are that of the Author