Parent Participation in Early Intervention
Early intervention focuses on maximizing a child’s communication and language skills during a critical learning period in his or her life. In order for early intervention to be successful, parents and caregivers should be active participants in the treatment of their children. Parents and caregivers are extremely important in the effectiveness of early intervention and are a child’s first models for language development. There are various strategies that a parent or caregiver can use to increase language development and carryover of his or her newly acquired skills. Some strategies include, but are not limited to the following:
• Make comments and talk to your child each day about what you see and hear in your environment. Use short, functional phrases and sentences, rather than questions.
• Pair your comments with gestures and signs in order to increase their understanding of what is being said.
• Expand on what your child says using functional and concrete vocabulary.
• Allow your child to lead activities and imitate their sounds, words, and actions. This will promote turn taking and increased learning opportunities.
• Accept all attempts for communication whether it is a gesture, glance, sound, or a word approximation.
You make The Difference Helping your Child Learn, by Ayala Manolson with Barbara Ward and Nancy Dodington, Hanen Center Publications, Thistle Printing Limited, 2004.