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:
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