Early Intervention and Positive Effects with Literacy


Everyone starts their life as an infant who has not yet developed the necessary skills required to talk, walk, eat, or read. As the infant grows, the foundational skills necessary for a lifetime of successful communication emerge at varying rates. Although most infants follow a natural and typical sequence of developmental progression, not every foundational skill emerges at the same time,. Which later on down the road, may cause concern for future performance and capabilities of a child. Development of strong communication skills is essential, and speech and language performance is a predictor of future literacy success.

While many parents understand there is a natural progression of skills developing in their child, they may not always be aware of milestones that have not been reached and when a delay becomes a concern. There is a need for increased parental education of developmental norms and when a referral for services for a suspected disability or delay is necessary. Research in early childhood development states it is important that parents reach out for help if an infant hasn’t reached these milestones. Early intervention is the key to succeeding and to helping an infant with developmental delays. This research project aims to educate parents on the importance of early intervention and the positive impacts early intervention has on literacy skills.

Early intervention is the term used to describe support services that are available for infants and younger children around the age of seven who are showing signs of either developmental delays and even disability (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2018). Early intervention is a vital resource for infants, children, and their parents. However, not all parents or caregivers know about early intervention and the resources in their communities that are available or the signs to look for in developmental delays. It is important that speech language pathologists and educators inform the public about early intervention services available in diverse counties, regions, and states. Some of the different resources available include speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, and even feeding therapy. Other options for early intervention services such as physical therapy and vision services, might be available. However, these services are on a case-to-case basis depending on the child's needs since each child has his or her own unique needs.

Literacy skills are the skills a child needs for developing reading and writing abilities (Boudreau, D. M.,1999). Literacy skills begin to develop at around three months of age before the child is able to read words from a book (Boudreau, D. M.,1999). Literacy Skills include awareness of the sounds of language and the relationship between letters and sounds. Literacy as a foundational skill is built upon as the child grows older and gains new knowledge and skills. Literacy is very important in a person’s life; if someone does not learn literacy skills early in life, the chances of developing a learning disability are much higher(Boudreau, D. M.,1999). An individual with a learning disability or more specifically a communication disorder, may experience significant hardships throughout their educational journey as well as occupational ventures (Boudreau, D. M.,1999). A person with a developmental delay will have a harder time as they mature, age, continue their life in school, and the world outside of school. A developmental delay can cause a person to fall behind in school, be made fun of, and struggle to get a job. Just about everything individuals do involves reading, writing, and letter or number recognition. If individuals did not know how to read or write, they could be considered by many as uneducated and possibly less fortunate. Navigating society without strong communication skills and literacy skills can make the simplest of tasks challenging. For example, if such individuals need to go to the doctor and had to fill out paperwork, they would not know how to read the paperwork or write the answers. They may not be able to understand the physician’s questions, answer them in a way that provides the most relevant and pertinent information, all of which would impact the care they recieve. Communication skills, including strong language and literacy is a necessity.

As stated before, early intervention has many positive impacts on future outcomes and successes for the children receiving in early intervention services. Early intervention is not meant to be taken care of in a few short sessions, it is about catching children in a crucial developmental time and helping them to strive forward. The goal is to help them gain knowledge and close the gap of information or tasks that they are missing before the difficulties become even more of a challenge. By increasing parent awareness and education of early intervention resources and the importance of those services, more children can be identified early in hopes of increasing skills during a crucial developmental window. Reaching out to readily available resources in his or her community will be a vital part of the child’s progression and ultimately can have long term impact on literacy outcomes and successes. This again falls back on the child’s parent, caregiver, educator, or doctor to notice that the child is in need and to advocate for the child. A child at this age has no idea that he or she are in need of early intervention services, this is why it is crucial that the caregivers: parents are educated.

Year Manuscript Completed

Fall 2018

Senior Project Advisor

Ms. Stephanie Schaaf; Stephanie Schaaf, Ed.D CCC-SLP

Degree Awarded

Bachelor of Integrated Studies Degree

Field of Study

Human Services

Document Type

Thesis - Murray State Access only

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