Your early childhood intervention and ‘early support’ - Modern or out of date? Here is a ten-point scale for practitioners and parents

eciIf you score 8 or above, I would like to write about your system

Peter Limbrick writes: This follows the piece I wrote in the August TAC Bulletin under the heading, ‘If crowing white man is top of the heap, who is at the bottom? Disabled babies perhaps’


I dared to suggest that some outdated early childhood intervention and ‘early support’ systems give some very young children and their parents lives of misery instead of quality.

Here is my ten-point scale to help you confirm how modern and 21st century your local system is. It is for practitioners and parents to use. Tick each item that is true for your system.

ONE. Local health, education and social care agencies have created a joined-up multiagency 'early child and family support system'.

TWO. Each agency and its practitioners take attachment very seriously in both assessment and intervention so practitioners and programmes do not get in the way between child and parent(s)

THREE. There is a proactive effort to reduce the child’s exposure to unfamiliar practitioners in unwelcoming and frightening environments.

FOUR. Interventions are well organised to maximise childrens’ quiet stress-free time and to avoid keeping parents and children busy, exhausted and stressed.

FIVE. The psychological wellbeing and mental health of babies with disabilities and of their parents is kept under professional consideration at all times.

SIX. As babies enter infancy, there is a conscious effort to gradually introduce an educational approach in addition to any medical input still required. This includes practitioners with educational expertise.

SEVEN. There is a strong and purposeful element of family support to counteract family breakdown and maintain quality of life. This will consider parents, siblings, grandparents and others considered as ‘close family’.

EIGHT. Parents are acknowledged and respected as the upbringers of their children and they are not undermined and demoted by expert attitudes.

NINE. Parents are empowered to ask practitioners for help in particular tasks as they bring up their babies and infants. Practitioners do not set professional goals and then ask parents to help them carry them out as ‘homework’.

TEN. There are regular independent surveys of parents’ satisfaction with the support they have received, or are receiving, for their child and family.

If you have scored 8, 9 or 10 (in the view of parents and practitioners), I would like to write about your local system (in any country) in TAC Bulletin. Perhaps we could run a joint seminar to spread information about this good work that is happening in your locality.

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share your information  Cartoon © Martina Jirankova-Limbrick 2011