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Child Development - First 5 Years of Period

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The first years of life are a critical period for children who are at risk for or have disabilities. If early intervention services are not provided, each month the child risks falling further behind typically developing it age kids. Early intervention services consist of educational, nutritional, childcare, and family supports designed to reduce the effects of disabilities or prevent the development of problems later in life for children at risk (Dunlap, Merrill/Pearson, c2009., pp. 46-51). Repeated research clearly demonstrates that the sooner professionals and parents intervene with educational programs, the better the outcome for the exceptional child.

There are three primary reasons for intervening early with an exceptional child: to enhance the child's development, to provide support and assistance to the family, and to maximize the child and family's benefit to society.

Child development research has recognized that the speed of human learning and development is the most rapid in preschool years. Timing of intervention becomes especially important when a child runs the risk of missing an opportunity to learn during a time when they are most ready too. If the most teachable moments or stages of greatest readiness are not taken advantage of, a child may have difficulty learning certain skills at a later time.

Special education is known for its team approach to program planning. Nowhere is this truer or more important than in early childhood special education. The parents are not only encouraged to take an active role in their child's education; they often times receive some service themselves. A child's progress might be quite difficult without parental assistance and insight. The support that is both provided and needed by parents in early intervention programs is very important, and teachers must be sensitive to individual parent's limits of involvement (Dunlap, Merrill/Pearson, c2009., pp. 46-51).

An example of how early intervention can impact my work as an early childhood special needs educator is by giving the child and families more positive attitudes towards themselves and their children by giving them improved information and skills to result in decreased dependence of educators. This is due to the parent's ability to meet their children's needs.



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