Why Early Intervention Is Vital for Your Child’s Development

Are you worried that your baby or toddler isn’t reaching their developmental milestones? My name is Jana Ferchaud. I’m an occupational therapist at Building Futures Pediatric Clinic in both the Monroe and Ruston locations. And I’m going to be talking with you today about what early intervention is, why it’s important for your child’s development, and common developmental milestones your child should achieve between birth and age three.

What Is Early Intervention?

Early intervention is treatment from birth to age three years, where we can address areas of concern with your child’s feeding, speech, occupational, and physical skills. We know that early intervention is important because there are so many neurological changes that take place within the first three years of life. So, the sooner that a child can get into therapy services, the more we will see their development progress in the areas of concern.

In addition to the neurological changes, we know that early intervention helps handle development in children before habits become harder to break. And it’s important for them to build their development before they go to school.

Common Developmental Milestones: Birth to Age 1

Between birth and age one, for the physical therapy aspect of development, they’re looking for: is the child able to crawl on their hands and knees? Are they able to cruise along furniture? Can they stand without holding onto things?

As far as an occupational therapy perspective, we’re looking for: is the child able to grasp things like a crayon to develop the strength in their hands? Are they able to finger feed themselves table food, like age-appropriate crackers? How are they doing when they grasp those things?

For speech development from birth to age one, we’re looking at: are they able to point and gesture to communicate their needs? Are they attending to books during story time? And are they starting to babble to communicate with you? We’re also looking at their ability to suck and swallow correctly at the breast or the bottle during feeding.

Common Developmental Milestones: Age 1 to Age 2

By the age of two in overall development, we want to make sure that the child can bend over and pick up a toy without losing their balance and falling over. We’re looking back to the grasping. Are they able to not only hold that crayon, but also do some pre-writing development, which is scribbling or making strokes that are important for forming letters later?

Are they able to tolerate different textures and a variety of food? How are they doing with feeding? Does it trigger a negative response when they’re presented with a new texture? Are they able to start putting two-word phrases together as in “go outside,” or “more drink”?

Common Developmental Milestones: Age 2 to Age 3

For the ages of three and up, we’re looking at the child’s overall ability to do what you would consider “playground activities.” Are they able to run, kick, swing, jump, and hop? We’re also looking at their ability to hold a pencil as they start to get closer to school. We want to make sure that they can grasp that pencil correctly using their fingers, not a whole fist. We’re looking at their ability to chew and swallow all textures of foods. And then we are also looking at their ability to communicate by answering questions and asking questions a lot in relation to their day.

Contact Building Futures for More Information

That is just an overall idea about what early intervention is and what we look for. If you have any concerns with your child or know anyone who may have concerns with their child, please reach out to us. And if you have some things that we didn’t discuss that have come up in your child’s development that you have questions about, feel free to reach out to us. We would love to hear from you.

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