What is early intervention? Why it is important?

What is early intervention?

Early intervention is used to refer to a system of support to help babies and toddlers, usually between birth to 3 years. This includes speech therapy, psychomotor therapy, or any other help support the child needs. If the child has any form of developmental delay (speech, language, cognitive, or motor), early intervention can help building new skills targeting their weaknesses. 

Why early intervention is important?

The earlier the intervention is, the more beneficial it will be for the child. In the first five years of life, experiences and relationships stimulate children’s development, creating every second million of connections in their brains. These connections are faster in the first five years than at any other time in their lives; the brain is “flexible”. Sensory pathways like those for basic vision and hearing are the first to develop, followed by early language skills and higher cognitive functions. 

How the brain’s flexibility enhances the academic skills?

Studies have shown that infants with higher cognitive flexibility demonstrate better academic outcomes in school with respect to their reading abilities, math skills and science-related task performance. Furthermore, this skill may transfer to emotional flexibility in terms of updating one’s thought processes to handle a difficult situation during the later stages of development.  

What can affect the brain development?

The brain can be affected by several factors:  

  • During pregnancy: drinking, smoking, high stress, folate deficiency, maternal infections  
  • At birth: Oxygen deprivation (Asphyxia), physical trauma (excessive force from the use of forceps or vacuum extractors), premature birth before the 37th week of pregnancy 
  • Post birth:  head injuries, bacterial infections (meningitis or encephalitis), Immune disorder, lack of stimulation. 

What are the therapies that could be done in early intervention?

Speech and language therapy 

  • If your child is having issues in interacting, communicating or understanding verbally, he may have a speech or language delay. Speech and language therapy can help determine the cause and improve communication and interacting skills.  
  • Through pretending play, respecting turn taking, listening to stories and playing, children will become able to imitate the sounds and when their vocabulary increase, they will be able to extend their sentences and speak easily. In addition, the speech therapist can help your child in having a better articulation of sounds by doing exercises that strengthen his oro-facial muscles. 

Occupational/Psychomotor therapy 

  • If your child is showing motor or independency delay in his milestones such in walking, running, eating, dressing up, cutting or writing, he may have a psychomotor delay. In this case, the therapists aim to mainly advance the child’s motor skills through visual stimulations, sensory integration, muscle regulation and coordination exercises. In addition, if your child has attention and concentration problems, a psychomotor therapy is recommended.  

Physical/physio therapy

  • If your child hasn’t yet achieved key physical milestones, this may be an indication of having physical limitations. They could also require physical therapy if they have dealt with injuries or illnesses. Physical therapy can help improve flexibility, strength, balance, and mobility. Physical therapists focus on regaining or constructing physical strength and movements through manual therapy like massages, stretches, or lifestyle modifications.

Behavioural therapy (Applied Behavioural Therapy/ABA) 

  • If your child has behavioural issues, ABA therapy involves many techniques for understanding and changing behaviour of individuals, through different techniques such as providing positive reinforcement, and understanding why a behavior may be happening and what are the consequences that could occurs. Nevertheless, a parental guidance done by a psychologist is a much recommended.

Babies are born ready to learn, and their brains develop with repetitive, consistent and familiar routines and practices. Stimulating and caring environments with a variety of different activities give children plenty of ways to play, develop and learn. In addition, children need many opportunities to practice what they are learning.  

In case your child has any developmental delay, don’t hesitate to ask his pediatrician and to start the therapy as soon as possible. Always remember “the earlier, the better”. 


At TBC, our Lebanese Therapists provide therapy sessions in Arabic, French, and English to help clients overcome mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression, and trauma, as well as occupational therapy, psychomotor and speech therapy in Dubai.

Our speech therapist is Hanen certified.