WHAT IS EARLY INTERVENTION?
Interventions promoting child development should address physical, social, emotional, language, and cognitive areas of development. Services targeting these domains of development are termed, “Early Intervention therapy” and can encompass physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language therapy and special education.
Early Intervention has a significant impact for children who have delayed development in physical, cognitive, emotional, sensory, behavioral, social and communication domains of development. With quality early intervention services children can reach their potential, live a meaningful life and integrate into their communities.
WHAT IS DEVELOPMENTAL DELAY?
Skills such as taking a first step, smiling for the first time, and waving “bye-bye” are called developmental milestones. Children reach milestones in how they play, learn, speak, behave, and move (for example, crawling and walking). Children develop at their own pace. However, when developmental milestones are not met by a certain expected age, it is called “developmental delay”. Early stimulation and intervention can help children reach these milestones.
WHAT IS DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITY?
Developmental disabilities are a group of conditions due to an impairment in physical, learning, language, social or behavioral areas. These conditions begin during a child’s developmental period, may impact day-to-day functioning, and can last throughout a person’s lifetime.
According to the WHO, “If children with developmental delays are not provided with appropriate early intervention, their difficulties can lead to lifetime consequences, increased poverty and profound exclusion”.
ENABLING INCLUSION (EI) App & MODEL
Amar Seva Sangam has provided Early Intervention and child rehabilitation services for children with developmental delays since 2014 using a real-time mobile technology platform called the EI App – Enabling Inclusion App. This Enabling Inclusion program was started with the bold idea, that community rehabilitation workers can provide early intervention services to children in their own homes or in community centres by connecting these community workers with rehabilitation specialists (physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists/trainers and special educators) through the use of the Enabling Inclusion (EI) app. This has led to significant improvements in motor, cognitive, speech, functional and social development outcomes for children, as well as increased school enrollment, increased family empowerment, improved parent-child interaction and reduced strain on caregivers.