Early intervention is where pre-school children are taught a range of skills by specially trained team members.
Research has shown that early intervention leads to significant, positive changes in children including gains in intelligence, language and daily living skills as well as motor and social skills.
The value of early intervention programmes is well recognised. A focus on improving social support, parenting skills and parent-child interactions during early infancy has demonstrated gains that include the mental health of parents and children, less use of health services and long-term reductions in challenging behaviours. Activities which encourage the development of communication and social relationships may also help insulate against the development of emotional problems.
Studies conducted have shown that within the first two years intensive pre-school intervention can accelerate developmental rates resulting in significant IQ gains, language gains and improved social behaviour.
Research indicates that for children experiencing a developmental delay, early intervention should commence as soon as possible. Even before a formal diagnosis has been made, very young children can benefit from interventions which focus on developing communication, language, interaction and play.
In addition, early intervention can also lead to improvements in core areas of deficit in autistic spectrum conditions.
Because the nature of autism is so varied and different it is important to note that there is no single program that will suit all children with autism and their families.
Spectrum will be creating specialist nursery age services which will support the diagnostic process and will pave the way for any early interventions that may be needed. Parents will be given support and advice at the earliest possible point.
Two key approaches will be used in this service, the DIR® Floortime Model http://www.icdl.com/DIR/parents and the NAS Early Bird package http://www.autism.org.uk/our-services/residential-community-and-social-support/parent-and-family-training-and-support/early-intervention-training/earlybird.aspx