Early intervention and its importance in childhood wellbeing

‘Early intervention’ is a phrase often used in childhood allied health therapies. Now, increasingly, this proactive approach to care also applies to a child’s environment. We recently sat down with Kasia Palko, behavioural specialist and early childhood educator, to find out more.


Noosa Council

Why is early intervention important for a child’s wellbeing?

A child’s wellbeing is supported by both the nurture that child receives from the important people in their lives and the environment that child is in.

From the moment a child is born, they absorb everything around them. Each experience imprints on their little brains: ‘this is what I do’, ‘this is what I eat’, ‘this is the smell of the air’. These critical first three or four years are when children form an idea about the world. This can determine what their choices are for life.

The younger the child is, the more we can work through problems with parents and educate them. We can change the environment or how we can behave around children. If we can catch those moments earlier, you will have far better outcomes.


How early is early intervention?

The earlier the better! I see many mums when they are pregnant with a second or third child. They may have experienced challenges with the first child and so need help preparing for the newborn. I will help with things like diet, lifestyle, even sounds that the baby hears in utero — they all play a part. By making changes around the house early, we can significantly reduce stress levels when baby comes home.


How to know if my child’s wellbeing is compromised?

Because language is not yet developed for the little ones, they let you know their needs are not being met by behaviour. So, if you feel they are crying more than expected, or if they can’t settle, that is an indicator. Also, missing developmental milestones is a clear indicator; if a child isn’t crawling or responding to sounds and noises, or is unable to make eye contact, it’s important to talk to a professional as soon as possible.


How do you assess a child?

I use toys and art resources in a very non-intrusive calm environment. By watching their behaviour — how they work, how they paint, how they move, how they interact with their carers and parents. I also observe a child’s movement, even the skin textures. And I look at their diet and lifestyle. I’ll talk with the parents to find out if there are any diseases, trauma or death in the family.

Because sometimes behavioural problems can be signs of post traumatic stress disorder or depression. I then work with the child, the parents, the family, the preschool teacher, and event the doctor, to gently solve behavioural and environmental concerns. It’s a very holistic approach.


What is your advice for parents who have concerns?

I always say to parents that they are the best judges when it comes to their children, so trust that instinct. In most cases, a parent’s intuition is never wrong. If they feel something is not right, pick up the phone. There is a range of help available and the earlier we can shift the pathway, the better the family’s journey will be.


Servicing Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and beyond, Kids on the Coast is an online guide for parents with kids events, attractions & things to do with kids, schools and education, school holiday guides, health & wellbeing for families, parenting and lifestyle news located on Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast & Brisbane, QLD.

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By Angela Sutherland
After spending many years hustling stories on busy editorial desks around the world, Angela is now mum of two little ones and owner/editor at Kids on the Coast / Kids in the City. She is an atrocious cook and loves cutting shapes to 90s dance music. Angela is the editor of Kids on the Coast - a free family magazine whats on guide for Kids: things to do, school holiday fun and free activities for kids... Fun attractions, family food & travel, kids health & wellbeing, kids parties venues, parenting, pregnancy & babies, guide for parents. Servicing Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and beyond, Kids on the Coast is an online guide for parents with kids things to do with kids, schools and education and lifestyle news located on Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast & Brisbane, QLD.

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