We call our nationally consistent approach to working with young children and their families the ‘early childhood approach’. We developed our approach from evidence-based research with the help of leading experts in early childhood intervention. We’ve explained the theory of What is early childhood intervention? that we use in our approach. Our early childhood approach focusses on being both family-centred and strengths-based. We do this by acknowledging that as parents and carers you know your child best. We concentrate on understanding what your child can do.
We know that the early childhood years are critical. They set the foundations for how children learn and develop. We want to support you and your child early to improve their outcomes later in life.
To deliver our early childhood approach, we have partnered with organisations called early childhood partners. They are well established in communities and have experience in working with families to connect with available support. Learn more about early childhood partners.
Who can access our early childhood approach?
If you have concerns about your child’s development, or your child has a disability, you can contact an early childhood partner to access our early childhood approach. Usually, you would’ve already discussed your concerns, or your child’s disability, with your doctor, maternal and child health nurse, or other health professional. You do not need a referral or diagnosis from a medical professional to access support through our early childhood approach.
You will hear us use different terms including development concerns, developmental delay or disability.
When we talk about developmental concerns we mean that there are delays in your child’s development that don’t fully meet developmental delay. These delays may impact the everyday activities your child can do when compared with children of the same age. But it may be unclear if support is required from a team of professionals or for more than 12 months. Children with developmental concerns can be supported by an early childhood partner with short term early intervention.
They may also be supported by mainstream supports, community and other services.
When we talk about developmental delay , we mean that the child is considered to have a substantial reduction in functional capacity. This means that the everyday activities the child does or can do is at a significantly lower competency level or is substantially different when compared with children of the same age. The support that is required for the child to do the activity would also be significantly greater compared to children of the same age. A child younger than 6 with developmental delay may meet the NDIS developmental delay early intervention requirements.
When we talk about a child with a disability we mean that they have an impairment that’s likely to be permanent. The impairment could be intellectual, cognitive, neurological, sensory or physical. You can read more about the early intervention and disability requirements in our Operational Guideline – Access to the NDIS .