The first few years of a child’s life are a critical period in the developmental process. This is now an established scientific fact. It is during this time that the foundation is laid for cognitive, physical, behavioural, social, and emotional capacities. More than two decades of sound research in the neurosciences and developmental psychology have shown that early intervention results in both immediate and long term gain for children and their families.

There are many factors that can threaten healthy development of a child in the early years, such as low birth weight, medical difficulties, and many environmental factors. Early intervention can diminish the risks that lead to poor health and weak academic outcomes, and will improve a child’s ability to learn and reach optimal levels of development. Early intervention prevents later problems and leads to more positive attitudes to the learning process through schooling.

Positive outcomes are witnessed in improved language, physical, social/emotional (self-help skills and independence) and cognitive development (higher IQ gains).

Delaying intervention results in greater economic burdens and emotional stress in the long term for the whole family. Intervening early is more effective in the long term than programmes that are aimed at compensating for early neglect later in life. Research findings suggest a link between later mental health problems and early developmental delays.

The potential of early intervention cannot be emphasised enough. The sooner delays are identified the quicker children can catch up and thus improve prognosis.

Children’s developmental timetables are limited in time and space and hoping that a child will catch up simply robs him/her of wonderful learning and educational opportunities. Children don’t grow out; they “grow into their difficulties”.

 

 

Dr. Shireen Mohamed                                                            Cell: 0822025667 (preferred mode of contact)

Educational Psychologist                                                        Tel: 031 2615648(a/h)

PhD (Child & Adolescent Psychology)                              Fax: 088 031 2615648

Pr No. 0860008641331                                                          Email: samohamed@telkomsa.net

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