Caregiver's Involvement in Early Intervention for Children with Communication Disorders
Purpose: Since very young people benefit from early identification of communication disorders, the primary caregivers (generally the parents) become the fulcrum of the intervention services provided. This article studied the measures taken to empower caregivers, as part of the early intervention services offered at the All India Institute of Speech & Hearing (AIISH) in Mysore city in India, and the impact this has had on their wards’ progress.
Method: A survey was conducted among the caregivers of 205 clients who availed of early intervention services. Five-pronged data was collected, pertaining to family demographic details, early intervention measures for their children with communication disorders, type and intensity of caregiver empowerment measures provided along with early intervention services, resultant caregiver participation in the education and training of their wards, and the consequent development in children with communication disorders. The mutual influences among these factors were analysed using simple correlation measures.
Results: The findings revealed that informal, but continuous and consistent efforts to empower parents, such as counselling and guidance, had a better impact. Empowered caregivers in turn contributed towards the education and training of their children with communication disorders, resulting in improved development of their wards’ communication skills and academic achievements.
Conclusion: The evidence adds strength to recommendations that caregiver empowerment and participation need to become integral components of early intervention services for young children with special needs.
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