It’s a fair question. Wouldn’t it be better for a therapist to bring out special toys/materials and teach a toddler new play skills or new words? Maybe even work with the child alone, so he/she won’t cry for the parent? Current research in the field of early intervention says no—caregivers should actually be the focus of intervention sessions. In our Siskin Home and Community-Based Early Intervention (HCBEI) program, developmental therapists spend their one hour each week brainstorming ideas with families based on the their priorities, supporting parents/daycare teachers with needed information, and offering feedback as caregivers practice teaching new skills to their child in the everyday activities where the child needs to use those skills—at bath time, meals, diaper changing, dressing and play times. We know that young children learn new skills best through repetition in the natural environments where they need to use those skills and with the people who are familiar and important to them. Also, while a developmental therapists only has one hour to spend during a session, caregivers have up to 84 waking hours that they spend with their child—much more opportunity to use interventions they have learned within the activities they do with their child every day! Plus, through this evidenced-based method, families build greater confidence as their child’s best and most influential teacher. This is a win-win for both children and families and is truly the goal of the home visiting program here at Siskin!
Learn more about the Home & Community-Based Early Intervention program here.
Author: Deidra Love, Director, Home & Community-Based Early Intervention