Early intervention is the term describing the services and types of support available to assist babies and young children who have developmental delays and disabilities. These services, which benefit both children and their families, may include speech therapy, physical therapy, and other services based on the needs of the child and their family.
Causes of developmental delay
A variety of factors can contribute to a child’s developmental delay, and these can occur before birth, during birth, and the early months and years of their life. Some of these include:
- Hereditary or genetic conditions such as Downs syndrome.
- A metabolic disorder like phenylketonuria (PKU).
- Trauma to the brain from something like shaken baby syndrome.
- Exposure to certain toxic substances, such as prenatal drug or alcohol exposure or lead poisoning.
- Certain serious infections.
- Food or environmental deprivation.
Symptoms of delayed development
Symptoms can, of course, vary from child to child as well as in the stage of life during which they appear. Some may be noticed in the infant or toddler stages of a child’s life, while others may not appear until they are near school age. Some of the more common symptoms, however, are:
- Learning and developing slower than other children their age.
- Sitting up, crawling, or walking later than normally expected.
- Difficulties socializing or communicating with others.
- Difficulty talking or learning to talk later than other children their age.
- Having trouble remembering things.
- An inability to connect actions with consequences.
- An inability to do ordinary daily things like getting dressed, showering, or using the bathroom.
- Difficulty with logical thinking, problem solving, or difficulty in school
While there are no cures for delayed development, there are many therapies that can be employed to help a child catch up with their peers. These include:
- Physical therapy – Can be helpful having delays in their gross motor skills. This will be key to ensuring a child resumes a healthy development as they age.
- Occupational therapy – Can help with motor skills, self-help issues and sensory perception.
- Speech and language therapy – Used to address problems related to understanding and producing appropriate speech and language sounds.
- Early childhood special education – Provides stimulation for various early developmental skills, including play skills. To learn more about these services, ask your local school district office or public school for resources.
- Behavioral therapy – Cognitive or psychologically-based therapies might be needed for children with behavioral difficulties that affect socially appropriate behaviors.
Strong Encouraged: Early intervention Services in Minnesota
In answer to the question of when it’s best to seek intervention for developmental delays, the answer provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is “earlier is better.”
Delays in receiving services and wishful thinking will not cause developmental issues to go away. In addition to the research from the CDC, at Drew Horowitz, we believe that therapies and community resources aimed at dealing with delayed development issues are more effective if provided earlier rather than later.
One extremely important reason for this recommendation is that the connections in a child’s brain are most adaptable during the first three years of life. These connections – clinically known as neural circuits – are the foundation for a child’s health, learning, and behavior, and over time these connections become more difficult to change.
In other words, the earlier development delays are detected and appropriate therapies implemented, the greater the chances that a young child will develop to their full potential.
Minneapolis Early Intervention Services
Early intervention for eligible children from birth to age 3 and their families is federally mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Fortunately, the state of Minnesota has a robust program of early childhood intervention under the auspices of the Minnesota Department of Education.
The Minnesota program is known as Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE). The program’s services are free to eligible children and their families, and more information is available on this website.
Intervention services at Drew Horowitz & Associates
Our would be glad to assist families interested in applying for support through the ECSE program, and we invite you to explore the wide range of intervention services that are offered at Drew Horowitz & Associates for older individuals suffering from various forms of addiction.