So, you are concerned that your baby/toddler may be behind in some developmental areas and you consider calling to get early intervention (EI) services. You want to call now because you know that you do not need to wait to get a referral and that it is important to get help early. You may even know that the therapist or teacher will come to your home, babysitter’s house, childcare setting, or wherever your baby/toddler is spending the day. Perhaps you have also heard that you do NOT have to pay out of pocket for early intervention services. You might be thinking really, NO COST??? Hmmmm.
Ok, all of this sounds great, but what’s the catch? There’s ALWAYS a catch, right? Maybe early intervention therapists are not “real” therapists? After all, early intervention services are paid for by “state and local government” and isn’t real therapy from a real therapist, real expensive? You “get what you pay for,” right? You might think that even though they call themselves Speech Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, Special Instructors, Behavior Specialists, Hearing Specialists, or Vision Therapists they cannot possibly be as qualified as a “real” therapist at a private practice or an outpatient, hospital, or school setting. Ah yes, you think, that explains it. So, you decide that you really want a “real” therapist and maybe you make an appointment at a hospital or private practice, because “you get what you pay for” and you want the very best for your little one. BUT WAIT!!!!
This could not further from the truth!!! The reality is that early intervention therapists are VERY highly qualified professionals. They are therapists that specialize in working with children ages birth to three who have developmental delays or disabilities. Many early intervention therapists have come from settings such as major medical centers, outpatient therapy settings, schools, etc. Many of them have worked in multiple settings. Their experience is, in part, how they have become competent, confident therapists who chose to work in early intervention. They have learned so much in other settings that they can competently and confidently work with families of children ages birth to 3, without needing close supervision/guidance. Furthermore, therapists, no matter the environment in which they work, must be licensed and certified. This is true of ALL settings!
So, are early Intervention therapists “real therapists?” ABSOLUTELY!!! 😊