Role of a Speech Language Pathologist in Early Intervention
What is Early Intervention?
Early intervention is a system of coordinated services that promotes the child's age-appropriate growth and development and supports families of children who have developmental delays or disabilities during the critical early years (aged birth to six years).
Who is Qualified to do Early Intervention?
An early childhood intervention team generally consists of teachers with early childhood education training, special education specialists, speech and language pathologists (SLP), Physical therapists (physiotherapists), occupational therapists, and other support staff, such as music therapists, teacher aides/assistants, and counselors. Since there are so many professionals involved in a team, it is important to check the quality and background of the team members involved.
How different is Early Intervention from Speech Language Therapy/Pathology?
Speech language pathologists/Therapists (SLP/T) are a part of the early intervention team and SLP looks in to the communication development of the child. SLPs, as autonomous professionals, assume various roles in addressing the concerns and priorities of families and their infants or toddlers, and should be included on any early intervention team for children who are at risk for or have communication, language, speech, emergent literacy, or feeding/swallowing impairments.
Can Speech Therapy and Early Intervention be done at the same time? Will it confuse the child?
As previously said a SLP is a core member of the early intervention team so of course it can be and it is also mandatory to avail the help of a SLP! Each professional of the early intervention team works on his/her specialty area and all the team members should be in sync with each other in terms of the goals and the action plan. It will only aid the child’s holistic growth.
At what Age can I start Speech Therapy for my Child?
Effective communication is fundamental to all aspects of human functioning, particularly learning and social interaction. The development of communication skills begins at birth. So families with infants and toddlers (birth–36 months) and in early childhood (3 years to 5 years of age) are eligible to start speech therapy as part of their early intervention program.