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Five Bad Reasons to Avoid Early Intervention

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So maybe your pediatrician has talked to you about getting early intervention services for your child, or you've let your doubts about your child's development lead you into making a few phone calls about it. You're worried about your child, but you're also worried that getting help will mean there really is something wrong. These five reasons to skip EI may be nagging at you, tempting you to just go on and hope for the best. Don't listen. They're bad reasons. Here's why.

1. I don't want to label my child.

Parent Enjoying Drawing With Toddler
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The "label" your child gets to qualify for early intervention doesn't go on his "permanent record" -- many kids go from EI right into regular education preschools and kindergartens. The idea is to label now so that there's no need to label later. Because those labels that come later stick a lot harder.

2. My family thinks it's a bad idea.

Mothers and fathers and in-laws and siblings are always full of advice, but as a parent, the buck stops with you. You spend more time observing your child than anyone, and if you have concerns, they need to be respected -- if not by others, then absolutely by yourself. Follow your gut.

3. My child will catch up on her own.

Maybe, but you're gambling with your child's life here. When your child is five and still delayed, you're not going to be able to dial things back and try early intervention. Early intervention will do no harm, and may do a great deal to help. Why take a chance when you don't need to?

4. Children need to play and have fun, not do therapy.

Sending your child to early intervention is not like sending him to boot camp. It's fun. Your child will think he's playing as he does things to strengthen his motor skills and gain meaningful language. You'll have fun watching it, too.

5. I'll just work with my child myself.

Terrific! Work with your child yourself! There are lots of hours in the day. Doing early intervention doesn't mean doing nothing else. You'll still want and need to work with your child. But chances are the intervention therapists will be able to give you ways to do that so much more effectively.
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