What is Early Childhood Intervention (ECI)?

Child in Red Shirt Plays

“The field of early childhood intervention continues to evolve, reflecting developments within its own practices as well as related developments in other fields. This has led to progressive reformulations of how it is defined and what its central aims and purposes are (eg. Dunst, 1985, 2000, 2012)”.

Early childhood intervention has usually been defined as the provision of various multidisciplinary services to children with disabilities and their families.

An alternative way of defining early childhood intervention is that it involves providing children with experiences and opportunities that promote their acquisition and use of competencies that enable them to participate meaningfully with others and with their environment.

The difference between these two definitions may appear to be just a matter of emphasis, but it has important implications:

If early childhood intervention is defined in terms of providing children and families with services … then the emphasis will be on the nature and quality of those services, and on changing the child’s behaviour directly rather than on changing the child’s learning environments.

On the other hand … If early childhood intervention is defined in terms of providing children with experiences and opportunities that promote competencies that enable them to participate meaningfully in home and community environments … then the focus will be on ensuring that families and other carers are able to provide children with such experiences and opportunities. In other words, the aim will be to ensure that the child’s everyday learning environments are optimal.

Thus, the aim of an early childhood intervention services is not so much to be the major agent of change through direct work with children, but to work with and through the children’s caregivers to ensure that the children’s everyday environments provide them with the opportunities and experiences that will enable them to develop the functional skills to participate meaningfully.

This same logic leads to the recognition that the learning environments that children experience outside the home are just as important for their development as their home environments.

Therefore the learning environments provided by early childhood programs are properly regarded as being major settings for early childhood intervention, not just as desirable additions.”1

Kalparrin, as a leading Early Childhood Intervention Service (or ECIS), wholly supports the premise of working with and through the child’s parents and caregivers as central to quality early childhood intervention practice and recognises families as the child’s first and most influential teacher and the primary influence on a child’s learning and development.

Accordingly a child and family centred approach, based on a strong partnership between parents and service professionals, is at the core of Kalparrin’s philosophy.

Anyone can make a referrals to Kalparrin. Parents who feel their child needs assistance can come to Kalparrin and make an appointment. Parents who have a child with an NDIS Plan can contact our NDIS Client Services Coordinator on 9435 8311 to arrange for their child’s Plan to be activated and serviced. General practitioners; paediatricians; maternal and child health nurses; child care professionals and kindergarten teachers can also make a referral to Kalparrin on your behalf.

1 Rethinking Early Childhood Intervention Services: Implications for Policy and Practice. Dr Tim Moore. Snr Research Fellow. Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and The Royal Children’s Hospital Centre for Community Child Health. Aug 2012