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EARLY INTERVENTION CENTRE

What is early intervention?

Early intervention is a system of services that helps babies and toddlers with developmental delays or disabilities. Early intervention focuses on helping eligible babies and toddlers learn the basic and brand-new skills that typically develop during the first three years of life, such as :

• physical (reaching, rolling, crawling, and walking);
• cognitive (thinking, learning, solving problems)
• communication (talking, listening, understanding);
• social/emotional (playing, feeling secure and happy); and
• self-help (eating, dressing).

Early intervention is intended for infants and toddlers who have a developmental delay or disability.

NICU graduates

Children who were admitted in Neonatal intensive care unit at birth for significant prematurity, very low birth weight, illness, or surgery should be given a reference at the time of discharge.

• Early intervention program (early stimulation) must be started in the NICU once the neonate is medically stable.

In the last 2 decades, the neonatal care has improved and more very low birth and extremely low birth babies are surviving in our country. Even though there has been a substantial improvement in neonatal survival, the incidence of chronic morbidities and adverse outcome in survivors continues to be high. The incidence of severe disabilities like Cerebral palsy has remained quite unrelenting at 4.5-10% over the past two decades. This is also associated with reports of increasingly high incidence of neuro-sensory impairment (blindness and deafness), cognitive, learning disabilities and behavioural problems like ADHD. Timely and appropriate intervention can prevent or modify many of these disabilities (example – laser photocoagulation for ROP, timely hearing aid for hearing impaired).

Where should the baby be followed up and who should do the follow-up?

A comprehensive follow up program requires a multi disciplinary approach involving a team of experts who include a Developmental Paediatrician, Paediatric Neurologist, Physiotherapist, an Occupational therapist, a Child Psychologist (ophthalmologist, audiologist) all under one roof e.g. An early interventuion centre.

Early intervention should be started in NICU before discharge and regularly thereafter.

What is done in early stimulation?

• Assess parenting –skills and educate
• Stimulate the child in all sectors of development – motor, cognitive, Neuro-sensory, language
• Developmentally appropriate - through the normal developmental channel (stimulate to achieve the next “mile-stone” rather than age-based)
• Physical stimulation – passive exercises to prevent development of hypertonia Specific interventions
• Motor impairment / Hypertonia – medications and physiotherapy
• Physiotherapy and occupational therapy
• Speech therapy
• Seizures
• DDH and other Orthopedic conditions
• Squint correction
• Behavior therapy and pharmacotherapy for behavioral disorders
• Therapy for learning disabilities