March 30, 2014
Individuals with disabilities face many challenges throughout their lifetimes, so it is imperative that diagnosis and intervention services happen as early as possible in order to be able to ensure that these individuals with disabilities have any chance at becoming lifelong learners. The public education system is required by law to offer special services for children with disabilities that will ensure these students are receiving a free-appropriate education in the least restrictive environment possible. Educational and transitional services and programs need to be customized to meet the needs of each child’s specific exceptionalities and abilities.
Some of the challenges and obstacles that are faced by the individuals with disabilities can be lessened or even eliminated if diagnosis of a disability is made early enough. Laurel M. Bear, MD (2004) explains: “It is difficult to differentiate between infants who are lagging behind in skill acquisition but will achieve the usual developmental milestones and infants who are truly deviating from the expected pattern. Identifying children in the first year of life provides the opportunity for early referral for interventional services and diagnosis.” Screenings and testing for disabilities have made enormous progress over the years and can be performed as early as during pregnancy. The majority of developmental disabilities are not diagnosed until the ages between three and five. It is imperative that early intervention services and programs be made available immediately following the diagnosis of a disability.
Peter Wright and Pamela Wright (2013) define early intervention as: “The process of providing services, education, and support to young children who are deemed to have an established condition that may affect their development or impede their education.” Early intervention priorities need to be on language and speech development as well as fine motor skills...