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Our early childhood approach is about supporting you and your child as an individual. There are many different types of supports available, starting with providing you with information, referring to other community and mainstream services, and receiving support from allied health professionals. You can also get support and advice from our early childhood partners. Your child doesn’t need a diagnosis to get these initial supports. Our early childhood partners will connect you to the services that best meet the needs of your child. For some children, this may include help to apply to become a participant. If your child meets the access criteria and becomes a participant, our early childhood partners will help you and your child with your NDIS plan.
Our early childhood approach also includes community capacity building. This means we work with community and mainstream services, like childcare, to increase their awareness and ability to support children with developmental concerns, developmental delay or disability. We focus on this because early childhood education and the opportunity to interact with other children is a critical factor in child development and wellbeing.
Initial supports are time limited for a short period, and can include one or more of the following:
- Linking you with activities in your local community such as a playgroup and other recreational options.
- Linking you with mainstream supports including health services such as maternal and child health nurse, community health, and education settings such as childcare, kindergarten or preschool.
- Helping you understand your child’s development and their needs.
- Helping you develop goals for your child about the activities they want and need to do.
- Building your child’s skills, and yours, in the everyday settings where you spend time together.
- Delivering short term early intervention for children with developmental concerns. These may be individual or group sessions, for up to 12 months, with an early childhood professional such as a speech pathologist, physiotherapist or early childhood teacher.
- Supporting you to apply for NDIS access, if your child is likely to require longer-term supports.
An early childhood partner provides these initial supports with the funding we give them. They complement what is already available in your local area through mainstream supports such as health and education.
Initial supports are available to you without the need for a medical diagnosis or confirmed developmental delay.