What Is Early Intervention? Why Is It Important?

Early InterventionEarly intervention (EI) is a general term used to describe services that are offered to support babies and young children with disabilities or developmental delay, usually from birth to 3 years of age. Often, early intervention includes physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy.

Why Is Early Intervention Important?

There are a ton of skills and milestones that children meet in the first 3 years of life. Each of these skills serves as a building block for other, more advanced skills, to develop from. Without the base set of skills, children will be unable to learn more complicated skills. For example, if a child is unable to make developmental sounds, they will be unable to say words. If that same child cannot say single words, how will they be able to use sentences? The longer a child goes without early intervention services, the greater the delay in their skills. Therefore, the more intervention they will require and the longer it will take for the child to learn those skills.

Who Should Seek EI Services?

MOSAIC recommends that any child who is born at 36 weeks or earlier be screened periodically to ensure milestones are being met. The first one should occur around 4 months of age. If the child is having difficulty with feeding or parents have concerns, it should occur immediately. Babies who have experienced birth trauma or who spent time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) after birth should also be screened. Children under 3 who are not meeting milestones, whose parents have concerns, or who have a diagnosis that could cause developmental delays should seek out early intervention services. Children can have delays in one or more areas, therefore, an evaluation can identify all areas that need to be addressed. If you have questions about whether or not your child is meeting their milestones, the CDC has an excellent comprehensive resource called Milestone Moments that you can check out.

To learn more about MOSAIC’s early intervention therapy services, click here. Finally, if you have concerns, call MOSAIC today at (406) 388-4988 to schedule an evaluation.