Earthatdhood special education (ECSE) and Early Intervention (EI) are special programs that are designed to cater to children with special needs. As defined by the ministry of education (special education department) in the US, special education needs are needs that cannot be attained within a regular setting (family or homes and early childhood setting) without additional support.
EI is offered for children who are still very young, under three years while ECSE is for those who are over three years. According to North Regional ESD, which is a program that coordinates special education services, EASE laws and services are specific to children three years of age until they join kindergarten. To attain the needs of children who indicate developmental delays, services in the ECSE and EI programs are individualized. In the United States, ECSE/EI services are funded by the federal thus are provided free of charge to the citizens. The following are the conditions that the child may have to require EI or ECSE intervention:
- When the child has delayed functioning
- When the child has behavioral disorders that interfere with the acquisition of developmental skills
- When the child manifests atypical development or behavior
- When the child has been diagnosed with a mental or physical condition that has high chances of resulting in delay (even if at the time of diagnosis no delay may exist).
In the state of Virginia, EI services are provided by local Infant & Toddler connection programs. Generally, in establishing whether a child is entitled to ECSE or EI services, a meeting is conducted involving two or more specialists alongside the child’s guardians. With shown delays in areas of development (language, cognitive-motor among others) children aged three years and below may qualify for early intervention services [Oregon Department of Education]. Further considerable delays in these areas of development may imply a child’s eligibility for the services in early childhood special education.
EI services legibility process
Parents, community health nurses, doctors among others refer children to EI services in some states of the US. After the referral, an intake specialist places an appointment to meeting with the child alongside their family where an initial child’s developmental screening is embarked on. While serving as the child’s skills determinant stages, observations and screening also assist in shaping the required additional testing. If the child does not show a significant delay in development there is no further testing recommended by the intake specialist and the file of the child is therefore discarded by the respective institution or made inactive. Should the child demonstrate special education services needs, more testing is carried out and the child is assessed.
This assessment typically takes place and involves the child, family, and two to three specialists in a room where the child is exposed to toys and other activities. In observing the child, evaluators will interview the family members (one after the other) as they consequently administer different tests. Information collected from this evaluation is appraised and used in the ECSE or EI eligibility determination.
Assisting the affected child
After establishing that the child is eligible for EI, a program is developed with goals to assist the child to improve in areas where significant delays have been observed. Personnel needed in aiding the child in goal setting and overall support will always vary from one child to the other. In conjunction with the child’s family, the staff comes up with an individualized plan that has its objectives directed towards the child’s development needs attainment. There are many activities in the set goals aimed at the child’s achievement. Individuals help in the plan’s implementation as well as in supporting the plan as per the child’s requirements. There is also a variation in the settings used in implementing the plan which depends on the needs, age, and program. It is no doubt that readiness to join kindergarten remains to be the long-term goal for preschool-aged children. Early services provided to children with disabilities imply enhanced long-term prognosis. It leaves no doubt that when given the much-needed support early in life, then these children are bound to do better in the future.
These services may include daycares, parent-toddler groups, and home therapy visits, among others. Service providers may include early childhood education specialists, nurses, hearing specialists among others. All these can be very important to the parent/ guardian of the child. The child can get the specialized care that would not be possible for the parent to offer. By the problem being noted and being rectified the misunderstanding that could occur between the parents and the child is eliminated.
For the teachers, this is important as it helps them understand the pupils. For those who could be having a problem, the teacher can give special attention. For example, those who are short-sighted can seat next to the board and the teacher can always move near a pupil who has a hearing problem. Knowing the truth of the pupil’s state can eliminate the situation where the pupil resorts to lying to avoid doing some things. For example, healthy students could avoid participating in sports pretending to be sick. For that pupil who could be pretending the teacher will resort to punishing the student to ensure that he/she does what is required of him. In the case of punishing students who are known to be physically weak a teacher will choose a punishment that will not make the student’s physical condition deteriorate further. The same pupils who are weak physically may be given lighter activities at games time.
From this paper, we can see the importance of Early Intervention come out very clearly. It is up to the parent to have a close look at their children’s behavior and if they sense that there could be something wrong with their children then they should take the necessary step as illustrated above. The parents should also spend enough time with their children to monitor their behavior. Other parents are ashamed to come out openly and say that their child has a problem that may need EI. These parents should know that refusing to take the necessary step is being unfair to the child who will not have his/her problems addressed. They will also find it very difficult trying to raise the child without the much-needed professional help. The parents should also know that the problem of the child will not vanish through wishing them away but only if they are addressed in the right way. For the parents to show love for their children, they should have them helped so that they can lead a normal life.
References and Bibliography
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Jennifer L. (2006). Transdisciplinary teaming in Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education: Navigating Together with Families and Children.
New York: Association for Childhood Education International.
Judith L. Evans et al (2000), Early Childhood Counts: A Programming Guide on Early Childhood Care. New York: World Bank Publications.
Louise P. (2002) Educating Young Children with Special Needs: New York: SAGE
Mark W. (2003).Disorders of Development and Learning: A Practical Guide to Assessment and Management. New York: PMPH-USA
Mary Peters (2008). Educating Young Children with Disabilities. Web.
Nancy L. (1987) Early Intervention for Handicapped and At-risk Children: An Introduction to Early Childhood-special Education University of Michigan. Love Pub. Co.
Northwest Regional Educational Service District: Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education. 2009. Web.
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Susan R. et al. (2000). DEC Recommended Practices in Early Intervention/early Childhood Special Education: In Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education. University of Michigan: Sopris West.
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