Every child deserves the opportunity to achieve their full potential across their lifespan. For children with Down syndrome the research demonstrates that early intervention services have a long term positive outcome and improves opportunities for meaningful participation in society.
Down Syndrome Indiana supports public policies that ensure comprehensive early intervention services for all children with Down syndrome.
It is recognized that a broad range of potential outcomes exist for individual with Down syndrome. Early intervention services should not be based on future perceived limited outcomes or expectations, but should be applied based on each child’s unique and ever changing developmental needs.
All early intervention programming must be structured such that all children receive the necessary services regardless of:
- Family Income
- Socio-economic status
- Educational background of parents and caregivers
- Native language spoken within the household
Many outdated perceptions of the long term potential of individuals with Down syndrome exist within our culture. Often these ideas result in low expectation for individuals with Down syndrome that are reflected in the early intervention services that they receive. And far too often, children with Down syndrome and their caregivers begin hearing, from service professionals, what can’t be accomplished rather than what is possible. This diminishes the value and impact of early intervention services. Down Syndrome Indiana supports public policy and early intervention programming that includes:
- Professional development training and continuing education opportunities for early intervention service providers that is up-to-date and research based with a focus on demonstrating the full potential of all individuals with Down syndrome.
- Qualification requirements should not limit access to early intervention services. All assessments should be based on types of services, frequency and duration rather than qualifications for services. It is a rare exception that a child with Down syndrome would not require early intervention services and families, caregivers and professionals should not be burdened with unnecessary assessments and paperwork to qualify for early intervention services.
- Programming that encourages full family/caregiver participation and ensures appropriate training opportunities are available to fulfill this.
Down Syndrome Indiana encourages increased early intervention public awareness that includes:
- Family and caregiver introduction and overview with a catalog of available resources upon receiving a diagnosis of Down syndrome.
Public Policy must encourage a high quality and abundant supply of early intervention service providers:
- Funding models and excessive paperwork should not encourage early intervention service providers to seek more lucrative opportunities outside of publicly funded programming.
- College scholarships, grants and low interest loans should encourage an increased number of early intervention service professionals graduating from our colleges and universities. To address the immediate shortfall, college loan forgiveness programs should be created for targeted early intervention service professionals.
- Opportunities to increase minority representation among early intervention service professionals should be encouraged to help improve services for minority populations.
- Programs and policies must be established to increase the number and quality of early intervention programs available in rural and other under-served areas.