The Importance of Starting Therapy Early
By Ashley Ward, B.A., SLPA
Decades of research demonstrate the importance of beginning speech-language and/or occupational therapy early in a child’s life. Otherwise known as early intervention, this strategy is centered on building and improving a child’s speech, language, communication, social-emotional, and play skills. Infants and toddlers who are not reaching their developmental milestones or are at risk for a delay or impairment can greatly benefit from early intervention services.
A child’s earliest experiences have a huge impact on their brain development. Research shows that the time between birth and 36 months is a critical time for progress and growth where specific circuits in the brain, which create the foundation for learning and behavior, are most “flexible” (The National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center, 2011). These early years present a window of opportunity for development that will not be available later in life. Early intervention therapy can minimize, and even prevent developmental delays, in children with impairments.