To get early connections, you can contact an early childhood partner but it is often best to first make contact with your GP, child health nurse, health service or early childhood educator. They are a good first point of contact if you have concerns about your child’s development and can refer you to an early childhood partner. The information in their referral will help the early childhood partner look at your child’s development and what support has been provided.
We fund early childhood partners to deliver the early childhood approach. Early childhood partners are teams of early childhood professionals, such as occupational therapists, speech pathologists or early childhood educators.
Using observations and assessments, they learn about your child’s development, and find out how your child does everyday things. They then apply their knowledge and skills to work out the best types of support for you and your child.
Once you’ve made initial contact, or a referral has been made, an early childhood partner will contact you to discuss what to do next. They will help you find the right supports for you and your child. This may include a combination of services such as connections to:
- mainstream and community services
- practical information that’s relevant to your child’s development
- other families for peer support
- early supports
- apply to the NDIS.
Early childhood partners can make recommendations about early connections and the supports your child might need. Remember, if you have concerns about your child’s development you should get information and expert advice as soon as possible. Early childhood partners can assist you without waiting for a diagnosis.
Learn more about the early childhood approach.
When you meet with an early childhood partner, they’ll start by working with you and your child to gather some general information.
As part of this initial conversation, you can discuss your concerns about your child’s development. Your early childhood partner will help you get the right level of support for your child’s needs. To do this, your early childhood partner will ask you about:
- concerns you may have about your child’s development
- your family or carer circumstances
- your priorities, including goals you would like your child to pursue
- the things you currently do to support your child and areas where you may need more support
- information from any screening tools, assessments or reports if you have any
- current mainstream and community services
- early childhood intervention supports you’re currently getting
- how well the current supports and services meet your child’s needs.
What if there are no early childhood partners in your area?
Early childhood partners are not located in remote and very remote areas. If you live in an area that doesn’t have an early childhood partner, and you have concerns about your child’s development or disability you should first speak with your doctor, child health nurse, early childhood educator or other health professional.
You can also contact us for further information.