Recognizing and Coping with early intervention needs of a Child
I went to My friend’s house to meet his beautiful baby boy who was nine months old. He was lying on a bed, playful and looking deep and distance some where. When I called his name, he looked into my eyes for fraction of a second, he smiled and again started playing; moving his hands and legs happily. Can I or for that matter any one from the medical or para medical field can recognize that this boy has any issues? No, you may say he is just nine months, he plays, smiles, socially aware, happy – what’s the big deal then? After talking to her mom for few minutes, I came to know that this sweet little boy has problem with his vision (both the eyes do not move in the same direction), cannot turn on his own and cries a lot for no known reasons.
Image Credit: U.S. Army
Not going into medical details but through some basic experience we all know about our basic God gifted senses and how to use them. We learn to use them as early as we are in the womb and it continues to grow with us, once we are in the outside world.
Vikas is a four years old, happy go lucky boy, he usually prefers not to play with messy things, doesn’t like to socialize or being very communicative. He likes lot of pushing and pulling activities. In and all his parents feel that Vikas is not a self starter. After trying very hard with involving Vikas into different activities, parents feel frustrated. Vikas’s pediatrician suggested that. “the boy is ok, and it happens with most kids so don’t worry.” Vikas’s grand parents blamed parents for not giving sufficient time to Vikas and spoiling him with all his needs. They think more discipline is required. Friends started to quote their own kid’s examples similar to Vikas’s behavior. So in and all parents didn’t find the solution or even acknowledged that there could be any issue with Vikas. The problem with Vikas is not directly of Autism or any other major issue. It’s definitely a Sensory Processing Disorder which surely needs help, attention and being treated to. Parents and in most cases, mothers are the first observers for kids’ abnormal behavior and for persistent behavior, intervention may be required. Not all abnormal behaviors all the time leads to the Early Intervention but certain continued behavior can surely be observed and noticed for further evaluation called “Early Intervention”. Check for the following answers:
- Is he over or under sensitive to some sensation like sound, touch, movement, messy textures?
- Is he physically not well balanced or delayed in milestones of normal turning, supported sitting, walking etc by more than six months?
- Is he mostly avoiding social interaction, eye contact, quiet during social gatherings, not very playful, avoids playing in the group?
- Is he delayed with normal speech and language senses including babbling?
- Does he become easily distracted by visual stimulation, avoids bright light, hard time searching for a object from many?
- Is he distracted easily with certain sounds, reacts negatively to loud noise, makes loud noise?
- Does he seem bothered too much by different smells, often chew or taste non eatables?
- Is he way too active, hyper, impulsive and aggressive, always on the go, often ramming into furniture?
- Does he feel trouble chewing, drool a lot, trouble swallowing, too choosy about taste, temperature and texture of the food?
- Is he having difficulty with sleeping, disturbed sleep at night, less sleep than other same age kids, irregular sleep patterns?
- Does he like to spin, rock, jump, bang head on his own for longer than normal duration?
- Mostly fearful, not an initiator of any activity, easily frustrated, stubborn, need more protection, quiet and withdrawn from playfulness, trouble getting along with other children?
Again this is not a complete list but a basic guidelines to observe and notice major behavioral issues. If 70% of the answers are in ‘Yes’ than you surely need to approach a doctor; may be a developmental therapist or occupational therapist for further assistance.
For less than 50%, you can try to do some engaging activities at home for at least three months before further evaluations.
Image Credits : PAHO-WHO
It is very important to understand that young children at a very tender age respond very well to early intervention activities as their brain is more flexible. Child can mostly become competent physically, emotionally, academically with mild and moderate problems but with due early intervention. For critical problems also, Early intervention can correct and modify lot of sensory issues and can surely make a big difference.
We will discuss about some home based activities related to Early Intervention during our next topic on this 3 part series on finding answers.
If a child cannot learn in the way we teach, we must teach in a way a child can learn Click To Tweet.
I look forward to hearing your experience & opinion with early intervention in the comments section below.