How Do I Know if My Child Needs Early Intervention Support?

June 16, 2021

Sensing that something might be off with your child’s development can be stressful. You may be wondering if something is really wrong, and what steps you need to take in order to provide them with the best care. 

For families with developmentally delayed children, early intervention support can be a great service. Through play, early interventionists provide children ages 0-6 with the tools they need to grow their physical, cognitive, social/emotional, communication, and self-help skills. However, it may be tricky to know whether your child is just developing at their own pace, or if there is actually some cause for concern. 

Below are some tips on how to know if your child may benefit from early intervention support, how to know if they are eligible for it, and when to enroll in a program

Key Signs That Indicate Your Child May Need Early Intervention Support

The best way to identify developmental delays or disabilities in your child is by keeping track of their developmental milestones. All children develop differently, but there are certain milestones that most achieve by a similar age. If your child seems to be falling behind on one or more of them, it’s probably a good idea to schedule a professional evaluation. 

Here’s an outline of which developmental milestones you should look out for throughout your child’s first few years:

0-6 Month Developmental Milestones

By 6 months, your child should be able to push their head and chest off the floor while on their tummy, roll over from tummy to back, and sit without support for a short period of time. They should also respond to your voice and other sounds. Finally, they should enjoy playing with others, using simple toys like rattles.

7-12 Month Developmental Milestones

Within 7-12 months, your child should be able to crawl, wave bye-bye, and pull themselves up to stand. They should be able to say simple words like “mama” and “dada”, as well as respond to simple words and requests. Also, they should start to focus on playing with just one toy for a few minutes. 

12-18 Month Developmental Milestones

Within 12-18 months, your child should be able to walk without help and point their index fingers to show you something. They should also be using about 10-15 words randomly. They should understand more complex requests, like bringing items from another room that you asked for.

18-24 Month Developmental Milestones

Within 18-24 months, your child should be able to kick a ball and pick a toy off the floor without falling over. They should also use 2-3 word phrases, follow simple directions, and use their own name to refer to themselves.

2-3 Year Developmental Milestones

Between ages 2 and 3, your child should be able to ride a tricycle, jump, and color with a crayon. They should start getting chatty, using 4-5 word sentences, and singing phrases of songs. Finally, they should start playing make-believe and imitating what you say and do.

How Do I Know if My Child Is Eligible for Early Intervention Support?

Your child may be eligible for early intervention support in South Carolina through BabyNet or the Department of Disabilities and Special Needs (DDSN) if they are: 

  • Between 0-6 years old
  • Behind one or more developmental milestones
  • Diagnosed with a disability

If your child meets those criteria, you can make a referral through BabyNet, and then take them to an early intervention provider of your choice for a professional developmental evaluation to identify and diagnose any delays or disabilities. 

When Should I Enroll My Child in an Early Intervention Support Program?

If you’re concerned about your child’s development, don’t wait to seek early intervention support. It’s most effective when provided early on. The neural connections in your child’s brain — which are responsible for their learning, behavior and health — are most adaptable during their first three years. 

Not only will your child benefit from early diagnosis and support, but so will your entire family. The sooner early intervention support is provided, the sooner your family can accommodate your lifestyle to best meet your child’s needs.

It can be scary to learn that your child might need early intervention support. But, with the right specialist, you and your family will be equipped with all the tools you need to continue supporting your child as they learn and grow. If you think your child would benefit from time with an early interventionist, the About Play team would love to work with you. Give us a call or contact us online for more information.

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