The Early Intervention Manual is a dream come true; a dream of all the EI resource persons of the National Trust and of many of the organisations working with children birth through six years with delayed development. At the National Trust, when we drew up our Strategic Plan 2012-2017, one of the first major goals was to upscale early intervention in India.
National Trust began the Aspiration Scheme in 2007 and has funded 85 NGOs since then to run services for this age group. This is not adequate when we consider the scale of need in our country. In reviewing our progress in scaling up early intervention in India, we also found the capacity of the special educators and therapists among our Registered Organisations to be very limited in providing quality services to this age group. This is a very vital period of life and only with innovative interventions, robust parent training and good management in the early years can we really hope to build the capability among our stakeholders. Only then can inclusive education, employment, livelihoods and true inclusion happen.
The launching of the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakaram has been a very significant move and we are in constant dialogue with the Ministry of Health, emphasizing the importance of non-medical and long term interventions necessary for children with delayed development. This manual will surely be a great support to teams working with the RBSK on delayed development. We are hoping that an additional Delayed Development Unit (DDU) is set up in each District Early Intervention Centre (DEIC). This manual will also help guide professionals in organizations who would like to extend their intervention services to include the needs of children, birth to six years, and their families. It has not re-invented the wheel; rather it has tried to link up all the resources available in early intervention techniques in one place.
This manual attempts to help professionals and parents to look at the child in a holistic manner. It recognizes the importance of recognizing and building family capacity in order to enable children. Parents provided separate programmes in physiotherapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy and special education have a tough time actually implementing those programmes. We have suggested a Trans-Disciplinary Approach and integrating goals within family routines and using family and community resources. This approach encourages the professional to look at the child holistically and draws from every discipline, to plan one holistic programme. Intervention is through interesting, age appropriate play or routine activities that will help the child attain the developmental milestones or skirt around them to learn a practical skill.
This manual is a labour of love, where several people have volunteered to give their inputs. However, my very special thanks go to Dr. Namita Jacob who has volunteered her precious time from her very busy schedule of travelling and training in Asia and Pacific regions as a rehabilitation programs Advisor with Perkins International. My thanks for her eye for detail and untiring motivation to see this through.
I am sure this will be a valuable resource for all of us who want to ensure that the lives of children and adults with delayed development are joyous and productive and that they also come to be regarded as contributing citizens of our country.
Chairperson National Trust