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Early childhood supports

Early intervention for children is frequently not based on best practice. Not enough support is built around families and helping children to be included in their local community.

Judy Brewer AO talks to issues around early childhood supports.

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What you told us is not working

From what you told us we understand:

  • The needs of children and families are not being considered holistically. There is a lack of family-centred practice. As a result, families don’t feel supported.
  • Parents feel the focus is on “parental responsibility” rather than working out how to get the best outcome for children.
  • There is not enough focus on supporting children and families in their everyday environments – in the home, in early childhood education and services, and in the community. The increasing reliance on therapy delivered in clinical settings has got in the way of children living ordinary and inclusive childhoods.
  • There are few incentives and no mechanisms to make sure early intervention providers deliver evidence-based supports or adopt best practice when supporting children and their families.
  • Families want better information and advice to help them make decisions about which supports and services will help their child.
  • There is constant pressure on the NDIS to meet the needs of all children with developmental concerns, developmental delay and disability because other service systems or other community supports are not available or accessible.
  • The education system needs to be much more inclusive of all children with disability and support them much better so that they can reach their potential.
  • Children with disability are also not being identified early enough in life. This is particularly true in remote communities where the average age of children entering the scheme is higher than that in cities and regional areas. Children in remote areas are also less likely to be accessing the scheme.

[I] shouldn't have to dream up a goal to justify a thing that NDIS knows is best practice for your child. Should be information about what a typical support plan looks like, you should ask for these things. If you don't know about it, you don't get it.

– Parent

Clear pathways and information to new parents, with an understanding that for parents they are brand new to the world of disability.

– Parent

Therapists spend one hour with the child, they weren’t interacting with us. We are the caregivers, we want to learn the tips and tricks. There’s no additional supports or training for the parents to best support the child

– Parent

What we want to know now

What is the best way to support children with disability and those with emerging developmental concerns?

Prompts to help you answer this question:

  • How can supports for children with disability be delivered in ways that lead to better outcomes for children?
  • What does good support look like for children living with disability?
  • In what settings should that support be provided, and by who?
  • What supports or services do families need to help their children with disability thrive?
  • How should families with children with disability be assisted and supported to navigate early childhood services?
  • What supports for children with disability should be available outside the scheme?

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