Early childhood partners have strong community connections. They help to link people together with services, and raise awareness in the community about developmental delay or disability.
Early childhood partners will help you and your child participate in mainstream or community services in your local area. This could include:
- early childhood educational services, for example childcare, kindergarten or preschool, occasional care, family day care and playgroups
- health services, for example GPs, paediatricians, child health nurses and vision and hearing services
- community health services for example dietetics, child mental health services
- family support services, for example parenting support groups and counselling services.
Isabelle is a 3-year-old girl who lives with her father, Raul, and younger sisters. As a busy working single parent, Raul relies on his elderly parents to care for Isabelle and her siblings.
Once a week Raul takes Isabelle to playgroup. During the playgroup sessions, Raul notices that Isabelle’s speech is not as well developed as other children her age. The playgroup leader suggests Raul connects with an early childhood partner.
During the appointment, the early childhood partner asks Raul questions, observes Isabelle and uses a screening tool to better understand her development. The early childhood partner notices that Isabelle has met most of her developmental milestones but seems to have a mild speech delay. The speech delay doesn’t seem to have had a big impact on Isabelle’s other developmental areas. Her behaviour, social skills and physical development are all at the same level as other children her age.
The early childhood partner recommends that a mainstream service is best placed to help with Isabelle’s speech delay. They discuss referral options with Raul. Isabelle is referred to the local community health centre where a speech pathologist supports her speech and language development.
The early childhood partner also supports Raul to connect with community supports. This includes information and assistance to enrol Isabelle at a local child care centre where she can go 2 days a week and practice her speech.
After this period of early connection finishes Raul knows he can contact the early childhood partner again in the future if Isabelle’s needs change.