Volume 1, Number 1 (September 2003)                   IRJ 2003, 1(1): 9-15 | Back to browse issues page

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McConkey R. Supporting Families through Early Intervention. IRJ. 2003; 1 (1) :9-15
URL: http://irj.uswr.ac.ir/article-1-648-en.html

Department of Learning Disability, Ulster University, Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Abstract:   (388 Views)

Internationally early intervention programmes for infants and preschoolers with disabilities have proved to be remarkably successful. In many countries, they began with teachers for visually impaired or hearing impaired children visiting the family home to teach parents how they could overcome the child's impairments. The logic of early intervention was inequitable. For example, the sooner children with visual impairments learnt to be independently mobile, then the greater their potential to learn and to kad an ordinary life. In time, this philosophy was extended to children with neurological and developmental delays, such as mental retardation, although success could be variable. In part, many different factors contributed to this variability: the form the interventions took, the extent of family involvement in the intervention and the lack of sensitivity of the measures used to assess a child's progress, to name but three. Perhaps the most extensive and intensive Early intervention schemes have been in the United States with their Head Start programmes. They were aimed at promoting the educational potential of preschoolers from deprived socio - economic backgrounds. Although the first phase of programmes had varying success, those in the second phase yielded impressive results which were mainly attributed to a greater focus on parental participation and links forged with the school system. Recently in developing countries, priority has been given to establishing early intervention as a means of creating new styles of family-based and community-based service in these countries in contrast to the hospital or institutional-services that were a legacy from a previous generation. Although formal evaluations are largely lacking, informal reports have been broadly enthusiastic. In sum, early intervention is no longer a new approach to developmental disabilities. It is an approach of proven effectiveness with children who have different impairments; and who come from different cultures and socio-economic circumstances. Finally compared with specialist-led, clinic-based services they are cost-effective. Hence there can be little hesitation in recommending that government and non-government agencies invest in these services.

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Type of Study: Original Research Articles | Subject: Occupational therapy
Received: 2003/06/5 | Accepted: 2003/07/29 | Published: 2003/09/1

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