Posted on Monday, August 29, 2016 by Mrs June Tham 2 minutes
Parents of today have high expectations and dreams of what they want for their children’s future. They want the best for their children and would enrol them in preschool programmes and enrichment classes to give them an early head start in their development and potential. However, children with developmental issues will need more help and support and should receive appropriate early intervention services where applicable and possible.
Most parents would become concerned when their child appears not to follow a normal pattern of development or showing abnormal behaviour. Unfortunately, there are some who ignore these red flags despite obvious concerns that have been observed or communicated to them.
When a child has been identified for professional assessment of his or her developmental issues or diagnosed of a developmental disability, this is a crucial stage for the young child to have access to appropriate early intervention. However, this is also a phase when parents go through a process of adjustments such as coming to terms with the diagnosis and family.
My professional experience with children with special needs has shown the merits of early intervention. Also, research has shown that the rate of learning and development is most rapid in the first five years of life. This is when the child is most receptive to learning. Potential inappropriate behaviour that may impede the child’s learning can also be addressed more effectively at this phase.
When prompt and appropriate early intervention is provided to a child diagnosed with a developmental disability, the intervention by trained professionals can help to:
There are many factors that influence the success of early intervention.
Parents who are involved in their child’s intervention and education can also extend the experiences of their child in the classroom to activities that happen in the home. Those who know and understand what their child is doing in the classroom are in a much better position to help and support their child in their intervention and this will no doubt provide consistency in the intervention strategies between home and the centre. Parents will also have a better sense of their child’s competency and potential and areas they need to work on to improve their child’s progress and develop potential. This connection is a key component of their child’s development and supporting further learning.
One of the most difficult challenges for professionals is figuring out how to better engage parents in their child’s learning. Establish rapport and good lines of communication with parents, as well as making a conscious and consistent effort to involve parents as an important partner in their child’s education, will no doubt make a positive impact on the child’s progress and development.
Collaboration between parent and professionals.
In Singapore, there are currently several options for children with identified special needs to access to early intervention programmes and therapy interventions. We have seen success in many cases with a number of them eventually transiting to the mainstream education system. However, this does NOT suggest that the mainstream education system is suitable for every child with special needs.
It is not uncommon to hear parents wanting their child to move on to a mainstream school system. While this is understandable, it is necessary for parents to understand and accept their child’s learning difficulties as well as the reality of the mainstream education system, and to continue to work with the professionals to provide the best possible intervention and education to meet their child’s unique special needs to develop his or her potential. It is important for the child to be happy and experience success, acceptance and support in his or her learning journey.