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E-TIP: Incorporate Routines-Based Intervention into Your Daily Activities.

Updated: Dec 6, 2019

​​This month's E-tip is provided by Sascha McDermott. Sascha is a special education teacher and ABA therapist specializing in early education. She currently teaches in a public school in Harlem, New York City and provides home care in both New York and New Jersey.


Research shows that children with special needs lag behind their same-age peers in many areas, such as:

  • Social/emotional development

  • Motor development

  • Speech and language development

These delays can range from mild to severe but, no matter the level of delay, one thing is clear; it has the potential to impact the quality of life of these children if not addressed early.

Early intervention is intervention that children with delays as young as a few months old receive. It allows them to reach developmental milestones as their same-age peers. A licensed therapist (speech and language, occupational, physical, ABA, etc.) usually delivers these services in a home or center-based setting, but parents and caregivers can play a key role in continuing therapy in the absence of the therapist. This is where routines-based intervention comes in.

Routines-based intervention takes place when intervention strategies are incorporated as part of the child’s everyday routines, such as during meals, playtime and bath time.

Strategies to incorporate during mealtime:

  • Presenting opportunities for your child to request things (e.g., only giving them a cup with a little juice so that they will have an incentive to use language)

  • Having your child help you cook and experimenting with textures (helps to desensitize children with sensory issues)

Strategies to incorporate during playtime:

  • Having your child verbally request toys and other play materials (e.g., “more cubes please”)

  • Turn taking during activities

  • For a child struggling with reading, make reading the rules a part of the game process.

  • Playing games that incorporate concepts with which the child struggles

Strategies to incorporate during bath time:

  • Presenting your child with a closed bottle of bubbles so that they have to make a request to have you open it.

  • Story time using bath toys

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