MAKING A DIFFERENCE- THE IMPORTANCE OF EARLY INTERVENTION
The sweet infectious smile and ingenious candour will certainly make all worries seem distant to anyone who meets Rais. Rais went through early years just like any other child enjoying music, dancing and playing with his friends at his preschool. Having received a clean bill of health from his paediatrician and the usual feedback from teachers at school, did not give Rais’s parents any cause of worry with regards to his development. For the first time parents, life went on blissfully even though as a toddler he showed some signs of speech delay. They believed he would pick up as he became more exposed to his school environment. It wasn’t until his kindergarten teachers alerted his parents about the widening gap in his development did the terms Global Development Delay and Autism enter into their dictionary, opening up a whole different dimension in their world.
At age 5, in the most critical stage of development, the onset of the pandemic posed as a speed breaker hindering prompt consult to professional advice. Thereby accessing appropriate intervention was not imminent. No words can describe the emotions felt by Yuhanis and Shafiq as they learnt their eldest son may not be ready for school. While his peers began their journey to primary school, Rais was to be held back. Fortunately, Rais was able to receive the help he desperately needed through HeadStart for Life’s Breaking Barriers EIP; made possible with support from the Mediacorp Enable Fund, which is administered by SG Enable. The Fund defrays part of the PPIP programme costs, so children aged 5 to 7 years old from lower-income households can access timely and affordable early Intervention services. “I’m grateful that the funding helped our family to overcome our finances and send Rais immediately for his intervention”, says Yuhanis who firmly believes that timely intervention makes a world of a difference.
Today, just after 6 months of intervention, Rais has made his parents proud demonstrating significant improvements in his area of challenges. Even though Rais is aware of his difficulties, his teacher Ms Elly appreciates his ever “positive spirit”, motivating and encouraging not only his peers but also his teachers at HeadStart For Life.