Early childhood intervention is providing support to young people and children that are at risk or have certain challenges such as poverty. You can prevent certain problems from occurring or take charge of certain problems before they worsen so that the child is not impacted by these difficulties in a negative way.
There are many types of early childhood intervention services such as school based programmes, mentoring schemes for young people involved in crime and home visiting programmes. There is a big impact made on the formative years of children through these intervention services and children are given a better chance at overcoming family difficulties. They are in a better position to grow and achieve their goals. With early intervention, the protective factors in a child’s life are increased while the risk factors are minimised.
There has to be a good understanding of certain risk factors depending on the child to come up with an effective strategy to minimise them. Some of the issues that can risk the development of a child are criminal involvement, exploitation, poverty, substance abuse etc. These risk factors will be present at different levels within the environment of the child. Sometimes they are at risk within the family or it can be at the community or societal level.
There are also protective factors that can reduce these risks and increase the children’s emotional and physical health. These factors are the nature of the family, society and community that the child is in. The risk factors and protective factors are the same. The mental health of the parents has a big impact on the development of the child. If they have positive mental health, this can help protect the child against other negative outcomes in the environment.
Risk factors can help to identify which children are at risk and might need some extra assistance. There are also targeted selective interventions made due to low income, ethnic minority status and single parenthood. Sometimes, the children in these situations may not be going through any problems but with early intervention, these positive environments can be made to last and possible issues can be prevented.
There are also targeted indicated interventions that are provided to families that are undergoing certain challenges. They will need more intensive support and intervention strategies are focused on managing the problems and trying to reduce the impact of these problems on the child’s development. The emotional, social, cognitive and physical development of a child is given importance when it comes to early intervention. This is what makes the biggest change in their lives.
Physical development is impacted by reducing the risk of infectious diseases and improving birth outcomes. Speech and language skills, reading and writing abilities and problem solving skills are given priority when it comes to cognitive development. By reducing antisocial behaviour, criminal behaviour and violence, behavioural development outcomes can be achieved. When it comes to emotional and social development, programmes to improve self-esteem and help to increase pro-social behaviour are considered.