How to Create an Early Intervention Center

Synopsis

Setting Up An EIC, the essential guide to setting up an early intervention centre (EIC), draws from close to a quarter century of the Latika Roy Foundation’s experience in working with children with disabilities and their families.

While estimates vary, according to the World Health Organization, as many as 50 million children in India may have a disability. All of them need early intervention. Why? Because it’s an essential precursor to the future health and well-being of children with disabilities. Our brains are most ‘plastic’, easiest to ‘rewire’, from birth to age six, particularly birth to three. This malleability decreases with every passing year, and with it the astounding pace at which we learn, increasing the likelihood that deficits will persist and potentially grow. Yet, despite EI being an essential service for children at risk, quality EI services are few, far between, and usually beyond the reach of low-income families. By the time a family that has had no opportunity to get a formal assessment realises that their four-year old doesn’t appear to be outgrowing his inability to sit still for more than three minutes after all, the child has missed out on that narrow, precious window for EI and its lifelong benefits.

How to Create an Early Intervention Center

At the Latika Roy Foundation, we envision a better world for children with disabilities. We believe that they and their families have the right to specialised services and support to be able to participate fully in every aspect of community life. We believe that when we plan for the most vulnerable, the world works better for everyone, and so we’ve made it our mission to provide those services locally, and to help others to do the same.

Setting Up An EIC is a practical toolkit we’ve created to support NGOs, schools, parents’ groups and social entrepreneurs to establish and operate family-centred EICs. We start with the basics – just enough theory to get you started if you’re completely new to the field – what EI is, who it’s for, what it does. From there on, it’s a detailed plunge into how to get going. We tell you exactly how to:

  • provide a safe, supportive environment for everyone in our care, both children and adults;
  • develop good relationships with families and working as closely as possible with them;
  • make sure that children and vulnerable adults have people they trust and can communicate freely with;
  • teach about good behaviour and keeping safe, both through the curriculum and through the example of our own behaviour;
  • use positive approaches to managing behaviour, and using safe practices if difficult behaviour happens;
  • make sure that staff are appointed carefully, with the wellbeing of children and vulnerable adults in mind, and providing regular training about child protection for all staff;
  • have clear child protection policies and protocols which are known to all staff, including consequences for staff if the policies are not observed.

How to Create an Early Intervention Center

We also share:

  • Our best practices to take the guesswork out of your planning;
  • Samples of our policies, booklets, posters and other outreach materials;
  • Guidelines for fundraising, proposal writing and budgeting;
  • Templates for meeting agendas and communications with funders;
  • Links to free downloads of training presentations, and much more!

So don’t wait! The children can’t!
All the best in this exciting journey!

Contents of our EIC toolkit

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Contents of our EIC toolkit

Introduction

How to use this toolkit

Early Intervention FAQs

  • What is early intervention?
  • Which children need early intervention?
  • When does early intervention begin?
  • How does early intervention benefit children with specific challenges?
  • What are the different types of early intervention services?

How to Create an Early Intervention Center

Setting up an early intervention centre

  • Part 1: Before you begin
  • Define the scope
  • Pick a name and logo
  • Think about your sustainability
  • Register your organisation
  • Appoint a board
  • Identify a location
  • Hire and orient staff
  • Raise awareness
  • Set up the space
  • Part 2: Working with staff and children
  • Assess the children
  • Admit and observe the children
  • Group the children
  • Plan, set goals, monitor and evaluate
  • Establish support services for the parents
  • Reach out to the community
  • Manage staff

Best practices in early intervention

Annexures and presentations

  • Annexure 1: Sample Meeting Agenda
  • Annexure 2: Sample Minutes of a Meeting
  • Annexure 3: Broad Guidelines for Using Social Media
  • Annexure 4: Sample Prescription Pad
  • Annexure 5: Handmade Toys
  • Annexure 6: Setting Up The Space
  • Annexure 7: Sample Assessment Form
  • Annexure 8: Knowing Me Better Sample
  • Annexure 9: Sample Fast Track Curriculum
  • Annexure 10: Concept Note Template
  • Annexure 11: Milestones Posters
  • Annexure 12: Child Development Booklet
  • Annexure 13: Red Flags Leaflet
  • Annexure 14: Sample Child/ Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy
  • Annexure 15: Sample Sexual Harassment Policy
  • Presentation 1: Training Workshop for Parents on Positioning and Transferring Techniques (English)
  • Presentation 2: Training Workshop for Parents on Positioning and Transferring Techniques (Hindi)

How to Create an Early Intervention Center

Tables and boxes

  • Types of skills acquired in the early years
  • Pros and cons of newspaper classifieds
  • Pros and cons of online recruitment
  • Pros and cons of personal recruitment
  • Qualities of good early interventionists
  • Minutes matter
  • How to engage your community
  • Quick tips for networking with doctors
  • Conducting workshops in mainstream schools
  • Why provide a sensory diet
  • Why imaginative play is critical to development
  • How children are grouped
  • Playgroup timetable
  • Sample contents of a child’s file
  • Short-term goal planning
  • The importance of feedback
  • A typical day for staff
  • How the strengths-based approach helps families
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