Your child was referred to your state’s local early intervention program for an evaluation. Two possible outcomes could have resulted:
- your child has significant delays and have been found eligible for an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) or
- your child was found ineligible.
As it relates to the latter, being found ineligible for early intervention does not mean your child does not have delays, though it does mean those delays are not significant enough to qualify for state-supported services. If any deficits were identified (i.e. standard scores below 85), you should consider seeking private services for at least a therapeutic consultation and guidance on how to address the identified areas of weakness.
If a child is found eligible for early intervention, there may be a brief gap from the time your child is evaluated to when an actual provider from the early intervention program will begin working with your child and coaching the family on strategies to improve your child’s access to their world. In any case, after your evaluation, there are ways to immediately begin supporting your child’s development of communication.
Before doing so, it is important to understand the hierarchy of communication development. The image below explains attention and listening as the foundation for clear, intentional communication. Before getting to the apex (tip) of the triangle, each skill builds on the next. Until the skill before is solidly developed, there will be difficulty performing the subsequent skill closer to the apex.
Interested in a bit more of a detailed explanation of those pre-requisite skills (attention, listening, play & interaction) toddlers must have before words come about? Read 11 Things Your Child Should Be Doing Before Talking is Expected
What can parents do to begin early intervention at home?
- Stage the environment (reduce distractions)
- Model verbal routines (repetitive talk while playing)
- Offer choices (two at a time)
- Sabotage the environment (create opportunities for communication)
- Support limited language with signing (provide alternative means of communication)
- Use bubble blowing activity to elicit language (a functional play activity)
Each of the items above is explained in further detail in the handouts linked below.
BONUS: Improve Challenging Behaviors
We love @ChatterNola’s video explanation of what to look for when your child’s behaviors are heightened and what you can do to help mitigate those challenges.
- Techniques to Help Improve Behavior Management Skills
- How to Use Household Items to Increase Language in Toddlers (video models for parents)
- How to Use Play Food to Improve Speech and Language Skills (video models for parents)
- The Affect of Screentime on Your Child’s Development
- 10 Tips for Reading with Your Child
- 12 Tips to Encourage Receptive and Expressive Language Skills
- Take a peek inside Atlanta Speech Therapy’s treatment room