Today, I am going to expand on the topic of early interventions. My focus today is on caregivers, educators and teachers of children in the early years that have concerns about a child they are working with. Early intervention for children 6 years of age and under can have a lasting positive impact. As child care professionals and educators we have a duty and responsibility to do the RIGHT thing for the children we are entrusted with, and to make that child’s life BETTER. In the early years we have a heavy obligation in this area, as ignoring developmental gaps or other areas where children need help, can lead to children having a great deal of difficulty with school. Lack of school success can lead to lifelong problems. It really is that important.
I attended a local professional development conference a few years ago, and was introduced to a wonderful document called “Red Flags”. You can download the document; the one that has been adapted for our community is 49 pages of amazing goodness! Sadly, I meet many people working with children in the under 6 age group that are not aware of this great document. If you do not have a copy, download it for free right now (the link is provided later) – print it, have it bound for a few dollars at your local printer, and put it with your most important and frequently used resources. Why do I say that? Because this document is not only the easiest place to find referral points for your clients, it also covers the full range of potential early intervention scenarios, everything from dental and developmental, to abuse and family distress, from nutrition to getting ready for Kindergarten, and a variety of special needs situations. The document itself is in a very user friendly format, where the professional (teacher, caregiver, healthcare professional, etc.) can quickly review a checklist to determine whether further intervention may be warranted.
Here’s what the introduction says:
Thanks to Dr. Fraser Mustard and other scientists, most professionals working with young children are aware of the considerable evidence about early brain development and how brief some of the “windows of opportunity” are for optimal
development of neural pathways. The early years of development from conception to age six, particularly for the first three years, set the base for competence and coping skills that will affect learning, behaviour and health throughout life…
Red Flags allows professionals to review and better understand domains on a continuum that are traditionally outside their own area of expertise. This increased awareness will help professionals better understand when and where to refer for further investigation or treatment. Use Red Flags in conjunction with a screening tool, such as Nipissing District Developmental
Screens or Ages Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) to review developmental milestones and problem signs in a particular domain or indicator. Some information is cross-referenced to other domains, such as speech with hearing, to assist the screener in pursuing questions or ‘gut feelings’…
Here’s a link to the Leeds and Grenville Version.
If you live in another area, you might want to do a Google search for a version that has been adapted for your community.
This is a wonderful free resource to help guide us in our professional practice. Let’s commit to making things BETTER for the children in our community, let’s commit to doing things RIGHT for the children we work with, the Red Flags for Early Years Professionals is a great place to start.