Do you have a child who has been diagnosed with a speech or language disorder?

Or, have you read some of the early warning signs, and suspect they may have one?

If so, early intervention is critical.

Studies show the earlier you begin speech therapy for a child, the better your results will be.

Read on to find out more.

What Is Early Intervention?

Early intervention is therapy delivered to a child of a young age who either has, or is at risk for, a speech issue or learning disability. The goal of early intervention speech therapy is to lessen the effects of these issues.

That’s the goal of speech therapy for adults or older children as well. However, with younger children, the approach is different. Because younger children haven’t had as much time to establish poor habits related to their speech disorder, they tend to have quicker, more effective results.

What Conditions Can Early Intervention Speech Therapy Help With?

In general, most speech concerns tend to have better results with early intervention. However, certain conditions are particularly important to catch early. These include:

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Down syndrome
  • Fetal alcohol syndrome
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Hearing loss
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Childhood abuse & neglect
  • Dyslexia
  • Apraxia of Speech

IDEA: The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act

In 2004, US congress passed an amendment to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act – IDEA. The goal was to make sure children with disabilities – including speech & learning disabilities – get the education they need to prepare them for independent living.

This helps them gain access to early intervention treatments.

In order to properly advocate for your child’s needs in school, it helps to know what their obligations are.

IDEA has the following mandates:

1. Free Appropriate Public Education

Every child with a disability in the United States is entitled to an education that addresses their unique needs. This sometimes requires a school to prepare an IEP – individualized education plan – which teaches the child what they need to learn, while having more realistic expectations about their abilities.

2. Appropriate Evaluation

Under IDEA, your child’s performance should be measured by appropriate benchmarks, rather than the same standardized testing non-disabled children receive. They way your child’s school evaluates them should be geared toward helping them prepare for life after graduation. It also needs to make recommendations for any treatments they may need.

3. Individualized Education Plans

If your child struggles with education the way lessons are currently laid out, their school needs to establish an education plan to help them learn more effectively. It must address their current levels of performance, realistic annual goals, and any planning concerns either you or your child has.

4. Least Restrictive Environment

Rather than segregating your child from the rest of their peers, your child’s IEP should put them in the least restrictive environment. This may involve changes to their classroom, teaching aids, or instructional methods, or an environment outside the classroom that provides the least restriction.

5. Parent Participation

You have the right to take equal part in the decision making process when it comes to your child’s learning environment.

6. Procedural Safeguards

The IDEA provides procedural safeguards which help ensure you maintain access to information about your child’s learning and to resolve disagreements between you and your child’s school.

IDEA’s Mandates For Early Intervention: The Part C Program

If your child is found to be eligible for IDEA before they begin school, you can apply for services under the DC Early Intervention Program, or the Part C Program.

Your child will be eligible if they:

  • Have a diagnosis known to cause learning disabilities/developmental issues
  • Demonstrate a developmental delay in comparison with their peers

If your child requires the services of a speech therapist or other health services, you may be eligible for federal funding.

Contact your local representative for more information.

Speech Language Therapy Treatments For Early Intervention

Depending on your child’s needs, your speech therapist may utilize techniques from the following treatment protocols:

Routines-Based Intervention (RBI)

With RBI, your speech therapist will use everyday activities to insert behavioural changes and suggestions. The goal is to help give you the tools you need to recognize potentially problematic behaviors, and to provide ways to help your child break those habits.

Your speech therapist will work with you to:

  • Recognize where you can insert teachable moments into your child’s routine
  • Create realistic and achievable goals
  • Understand your child’s current strengths and weaknesses
  • Understand what motivates your child
  • Offer techniques that will best address your child’s needs

This approach may involve using materials you have at home, as well as more general strategies.

Early Intervention Coaching

Early intervention coaching is geared more toward helping guide you and all your child’s caregivers implement the strategies your child needs to overcome their speech or learning issues.

It takes into consideration not only your child’s needs, but your own learning style as well, to make sure you’re able to help them get the best results.

You and your child’s speech therapist will work together to plan out the course of your child’s treatment. Your speech therapist will observe your child, and together you’ll put the plan into action. You’ll provide your speech therapist with feedback on your child’s progress, and they’ll reflect on it and make changes to their treatment plan accordingly.

In the coaching model, your speech therapist will continually shift their approach to improve your child’s abilities accordingly.

Book An Appointment With District Speech

As we mentioned above, the earlier we address your child’s speech and learning concerns, the better results your child is likely to achieve.

At District Speech, we can help.

Whether your child has been diagnosed with a speech or learning issue, our licensed speech language pathologists can help guide you in the right direction.

With early intervention speech therapy services, you can help your child overcome their learning issues.

Book your appointment with District Speech today, and help your child enjoy true freedom in their speech.

Your voice is unique and beautiful. Learn to fall in love with it once more.

Contact District Speech today.