Why You Shouldn’t Wait To Get Your Toddler Tested For Special Needs
As parents, “Special Needs” is kind of scary, right? We can all agree on that. We spend years obsessing over and protecting out children. We try to do everything in our power to make sure that they are happy and healthy. So when there’s a possibility that our blessed little angels might have a problem, it can be so difficult to recognize and acknowledge. And yet, early identification is one of the most increasingly important parts of getting the right care to help special needs children.
To find out more information about early testing for children, I went right to the people who work in the system. I spent the morning at field day with special needs educators, coordinators, speech and physical therapists. I met parents whose children are in special needs programs, and of course some awesome little ones who were thriving after having been identified as special needs and placed in early childhood programs. It was a truly amazing experience and it gave me insight into a program that many parents find upsetting or scary.
First of all, are we all aware that the Federal government mandates that states provide special needs children with education and assistance starting at 3 years of age. Many states also have programs that will visit your home for children under 3. That means that wherever you live, your local public schools have specialized care and trained professionals who can help your kids with any number of developmental delays.
What kind of care is given? “Well there’s speech, physical and occupational therapy. Those are all specialists who come to work with the kids. But it’s also worth noting that these children have three adults in a class of six or eight kids. At no other time will they get this level of attention and care,” one teacher told me. And it’s true, I was so amazed to see the number of adults on the playground with a relatively small group of kids. The groups might have been easily matched. And this focused care is important, because it helps each child find exactly what they need.
“For some kids, just the structure of a school day is really helpful for them. They do better when they know what to expect every day and it’s hard to create that kind of structure at home, especially if you’re a working parent.” With so many adults who are trained to help young children, it’s important to note that each individual child has their own action plan, their own goals and their own specialized therapy.