Are you worried that your infant or toddler isn’t hitting developmental milestones at the same time as their peers?
Or when your baby was born, did they have a condition that put them at risk for developmental delays?
If so, early intervention pediatric physical therapy and occupational therapy may be something you’d like to consider for your family.
Here at Little Feet Therapy, one of the pediatric therapy services we offer is early intervention treatments.
Early intervention pediatric therapy treatments have been shown to dramatically improve results when compared to the “wait and see” approach.
If you have concerns you can get your child evaluated in the state you live in.
Once evaluated, you may be referred to early intervention programs which can include physical and occupational therapy.
Let’s take a closer look at how this works.
What Is Early Intervention Pediatric Therapy?
Early intervention pediatric therapy is the name for supports given to babies and toddlers who have or are at risk for developmental delays.
In the first few years of their life, your baby will be learning skills that impact their development.
The following skills are all vital skills developed in the first three years of your child’s life:
- Physical skills like rolling, crawling, and reaching
- Cognitive skills like problem solving
- Communication skills like speaking, listening, and understanding
- Social skills like playing
- Emotional skills like feeling secure and happy
- Self help skills like eating and dressing themselves
These are the skills that help your child learn to crawl and walk, listen and speak, and feel secure and happy within themselves.
Early intervention therapy can increase your child’s ability to learn these skills and help them overcome challenges they may face.
Programs may include physical therapy and occupational therapy, as well as speech therapy, assistive technology, and other therapeutic approaches.
Why Is Early Intervention Pediatric Therapy So Important?
If your child has a physical, mental, neurological, or other disorder, research has shown it’s much more effective to take an early intervention pediatric therapeutic approach, rather than to wait and see.
While in some limited situations it’s true your child may grow out of their condition, it’s far more likely to be a lifelong issue. And in the more likely scenario, early intervention will deliver better results.
This is because your child learns a lot about how to navigate the world in the first three years of their life. When they’re first born they know virtually nothing about their body, and they spend these formative years figuring out how to operate it.
As a result, early intervention occupational and physical therapy is geared toward instilling good habits in children from the beginning, rather than having to unlearn bad habits.
Who Gets Early Intervention Pediatric Therapy?
While intervention pediatric therapy can sometimes apply to children over the age of three, the target age is from birth through their third birthday.
If you have concerns about your child’s development, you can get a referral from your pediatrician for services. You can also reach out to us here at Little Feet Therapy directly, since we don’t require referrals.
Your child’s eligibility will be based on an evaluation.
If your child suffered from risks like low birth weight, a specific condition, or significant prematurity, they may have qualified for early intervention before heading home from the hospital.
Early Intervention For Developmental Delays
With some children, it will become obvious they need intervention as they age and develop.
Your child may seem to experience setbacks or develop in ways that seem significantly different from other children.
In this case, your child may have a developmental delay or disability.
The five areas in which your child’s development may be affected include:
- Cognitive (learning and thinking)
- Physical (movement, vision, hearing, fine and gross motor)
- Social (interactions with others)
- Communicative (comprehension and expression)
- Adaptive (self care skills)
While there are broad definitions for developmental delays, each state has its own definition based on the criteria used there.
The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
IDEA, or the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, was passed in 2004 by the US Congress.
The ultimate goal of the IDEA is to make sure your child with developmental disabilities is prepared for living independently by adulthood.
Because of the act, it is easier for children with these delays to access early intervention pediatric treatment.
The following mandates are all part of the IDEA:
- Free appropriate public education
- Appropriate evaluation
- Individualized education plans
- Least restrictive environment
- Parent participation
- Procedural safeguards
Taken together these mandates mean your child is entitled to an education that addresses their unique needs while being measured by benchmarks suited to those needs.
They should be able to work within an environment that is the least restrictive possible, and you should be able to participate in the decision making for your child’s education.
How To Qualify For Early Intervention Pediatric Therapy
Because each state has its own early intervention program, you’ll have to find the one unique to your area.
You do not need a doctor’s referral to receive help if you are concerned about your child’s development.
If your child is under the age of three you can use this list to find the resources in your state.
Health Conditions Early Intervention Helps With
If your child has been diagnosed with one of the following conditions, early intervention pediatric therapy can help:
- Down syndrome
- Cerebral palsy
- Spina bifida
- Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)
- Seizure disorders
- Chromosome disorders
- Muscular dystrophy
- Fetal alcohol syndrome
- Pediatric stroke
- Traumatic brain injury
- And more…
Is your child showing signs of developmental delays?
Do you think they could benefit from early intervention pediatric therapy?
If so, we can help.
Book your appointment with Little Feet Therapy today to get started.