Luke, watering the new plants with his mum Leila at one of the Summerland Early Intervention play-groups.
Luke, watering the new plants with his mum Leila at one of the Summerland Early Intervention play-groups.

Early intervention helps children

Bringing up children can be rewarding, challenging and scary. For most parents, it’s a case of learning on the job and hoping that they’ve got it right. However, if children are not meeting developmental milestones like their peers, parents can worry and be unsure of what to do.

If you’re concerned about your child’s development, Summerland Early Intervention offers a support service which helps families with children from birth to school age with developmental delays or disabilities.

“Any parent who has a gut feeling that their child needs help can call and talk to our staff to see if we are the right service for them,” service co-ordinator Rhonda Wheatstone said. “Families can come into the service for an assessment with our team and then join one of the playgroups.”

Along with playgroups for different ages, the service also has educators, speech pathologists and physiotherapists as part of the support program.

“Although we do offer support for children with diagnosed disabilities, a lot of children don’t have a diagnosed medical condition,” Ms Wheatstone said. “When parents arrive, our goal is to support them in supporting their children and we work together to put a family program in place.”

Indicators that your child could need help are if your child is exhibiting difficulties with communication, mobility, feeding, toileting, sitting and completing games, as well as exhibiting difficult behaviour.

“Brand new babies can come into the groups too,” Ms Wheatstone said. “Sometimes, parents have an unhappy baby who may not sleep well through the night, or is not sitting up, walking, talking or playing. We can also help them with feeding issues.”

Ms Wheatstone said that after coming to the centre for help, most young children progressed and moved into preschool without difficulties.

“If children need help at preschool, we have teachers who can accompany them,” she said. “We can also help with the transition to school and onto other services.”

There are currently 83 families in the program . Families can be referred to the service, or can refer themselves. For more information, phone Summerland Early Intervention on 6621 6421. The service is located int Rifle Range Road, East Lismore.


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