For children with disabilities or developmental delays, early intervention is key. While many families may prefer to “wait and see,” this can often lead to valuable time that could be spent in therapy being lost. Children, regardless of diagnosis, all absorb the most information in their earlier years.
While it is true that all kids develop at slightly different rates, we need to evaluate the ability to communicate with others from an early age. Some children do not develop vocal language without interventions, others need assistance in communicating more functionally to make their needs and wants known. Better communication tends to also decrease problem behaviors since they now have a better way to tell us what they want. Communication needs can be addressed with a speech therapist, and often times if there is another behavioral concern or diagnosis, an ABA therapist can become involved to assist with skill development.
Many children on the autism spectrum have restrictive interests, which can be seen at an early age in many different ways. For many children, this looks like focusing on a toy in a non-functional way, such as spinning wheels on the cars rather than pushing them, or lining things up a certain way. These are not the only ways that restrictive interests show up in early childhood, and a great ABA therapist can help families to learn ways to encourage new activities and play into their day.
The “wait and see” approach often delays intervention that the child may need in order to better navigate through the world. Therapy before kindergarten can give the child the extra boost they need to enter school with more confidence and skills. We recommend that families reach out to their local Early Intervention Office for a free evaluation if there are any concerns about their child’s development, the earlier the better.