Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) provides specialised support and services for infants and young children with disability and/or development delay and their families to help their development, well-being and participation in family and community life.
The aim of ECI is to ensure that parents and other important adults in the child's life can provide young children with disability and/or developmental delay with experiences and opportunities that help them gain and use the skills they need to participate meaningfully in their everyday lives.
Developmental delay describes a young child who is not achieving new skills within the expected age range.
Disability is a physical, sensory, intellectual or behavioural impairment which affects development.
Early childhood is a time of remarkable brain development. Learning and development is most rapid during the early childhood years. Future development is based on the child's learning during these early years. These early years set up how the child will learn and develop later in life.
Providing quality early childhood intervention early in a child's life supports children to develop the skills they need to take part in everyday activities and to be included in family and community life. These ECI supports received early in life can potentially reduce the amount of supports needed in later life.
ECI is also important for the family. This is when families learn how to support and nurture their child, how to meet their child's needs and how to adapt to having a child with a disability and/or developmental delay.
Families know their child best and will continue to be involved in their child's life. Family centred ECI services understand that parents and caregivers have the most powerful influence on their child's development. ECI services partner with families to ensure that family life and family priorities and choices drive what happens in planning and intervention.
We know that children learn best in everyday situations with familiar people. ECI is about encouraging and supporting everyday learning to naturally build on opportunities for learning and development already being provided at home, child care, preschool, playgroups and in the community such as parks and shopping.
It is a much more effective early intervention if the adults who have the deepest relationships and spend the most time with the child are skilled up to provide intervention through the child's participation in the activities and daily routines of their everyday life.
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