Early intervention, a program supported by federal legislation, supports infants and toddlers with developmental delays and disabilities. An infant or toddler’s eligibility for early intervention is determined through evaluation and assessment, with contributions from both the child’s family and a licensed early intervention clinic. Once a child is deemed eligible for early intervention, their family is given an Individualized Family Service Plan, which helps guide the family through resources available to them and their child. Among these are physical development therapy programs designed to help infants and toddlers properly develop.
Some of the key components of early intervention are its developmental therapy programs designed for toddlers and infants. These programs include:
- Physical Development
- Cognitive Development
- Adaptive Development
- Communication Development
- Social and Emotional Development
These developmental programs center on age-appropriate activities designed to help young children properly function, grow, and mature.
Physical Therapy for Infants and Toddlers
Physical therapy for developing infants and toddlers helps them to use their bodies in a proper and healthy manner. It is often a central component of intervention services for children. Certified early intervention therapists use their specialized knowledge and skills related to self-care and motor function, medical and healthcare science, and assistive technology to provide an essential service to a young child’s development. These programs help infants and toddlers to do the following:
- Hold, explore, and play with toys of different sizes, shapes, and weights to learn fine motor skills
- Learn to crawl so they can move from place to place, get to their toys, or follow their family members around the house
- Learn to sit correctly so that they can play on the floor with friends and family members
- Improve balance so they can walk on uneven surfaces such as grass, gravel, or sand without falling
- Increase strength so that they can keep up with their siblings and friends
- Be physically fit so that they can be active with other children and family members
Physical Therapy for Families
Early intervention programs help families to gain a better understanding of their child. Families can learn to understand how to meet their child’s needs, including when to invest in adaptive equipment for disabled children, and create opportunities for their child to develop essential motor abilities. Parents can also find resources in their community that can help transition their child to preschool or other programs as they grow older.