Early childhood is a very significant stage in a child’s life. It involves the development of various institutions in a child’s stage of growth and development. During this stage, the child learns the mastery of speech, recognition of different signs and signals, social skills and activities, and how to relate with others in his or her environment among other things. For children with disabilities, these early years are more critical because it will be of great advantage if difficult areas in development are pointed out early in advance. This paper discusses what is to be done during the child’s change from one age to the next and specifically from in-house-based care to school-based care and how the respective parents can play a major and significant role in making this a reality in the child’s development.
According to Shonkoff and Meisels (2000), early childhood is defined as the account of services availed to children from their time of birth to the time they are eight years of age. It is also described as the stipulation for academic and restorative requirements for children below eight years of age according to the report by the early childhood department (cited in Brambring, Rauh & Beelmann, 1996). It is noted that it is important to identify the areas in which the child is having difficulties or disabilities in advance so that they can be worked on right from the onset of the child’s educational development. A child could be having problems in speech development or verbal skills and social issues among many other problems. If these problems are addressed early enough, there are higher chances of the student gaining from these approaches that are intended to compensate for his or her learning requirement. This helps families in benefiting from the aid given to them during the development of their child as they also equip them with knowledge on how to handle their child when he or she is not in school. Finally, these clarifications also help schools and the wider community to know the type of a child and eventually the person they are and will be dealing with. This also helps them reduce the cost of operation since many children come to the institutions when there are prepared to study.
The people involved in this transition are the teachers (school), the community, the parents, and the state. The state’s major duty is to provide resources required for the upbringing of the child during the child’s development stages. The state also funds the schools that offer these services to the identified children. The state constructs the necessary facilities for the children and also works on the appropriate curriculum for the schools offering such services. The curriculum gives an overview of what is to be taught and how to teach it. The school’s major role is to provide the required conducive learning environment needed by the child. It is the institution where the child will acquire all the skills and knowledge necessary for his or her development.
The school should be well equipped and should have all the important tools for providing the services required by the child and thus meeting all, if not most, of his needs. In the school, there are well-trained teachers in special education who help the child to gain knowledge and thus improve their intelligence quotient (I.Q). Research by Kirk (1958) based on the implications of preschool on children with disabilities indicated that the I.Q of children who went through early childhood schools improved by between ten and thirty points while there was a decrease in the I.Q of the children who stayed at home with no education (cited in Kirk, Gallagher & Anastasiow, 1997).
The community on the other hand influences the early childhood transition in that it provides an environment in which the activities should take place. The community should make it easy for the services to be mobile from one place to another depending on the need of the child. They should be able to understand the child’s condition and accept him or her as she or he is. In this way, community members make learning and service provision easy. They should also be friendly and make the child have a sense of belonging and acceptance.
Every child is born and brought up in a family setting. The role of the family is to give care to the child, assist in the advancement of the child and improve the quality of the life of the child at various stages. The family is the most major and basic requirement for service delivery to the child during transition. The decisions of the family during the child’s early development stages should be respected by the people providing the transition programs to the child. The parents should be ready to deal with the expected pressure that they will encounter occasionally during the transition of their child’s life. They get awareness from the program givers who tell them what to do and what not to do so that at the end of it all they do not feel burned out.
The case manager in this team is usually the programmer who happens to be the teacher in the institution where the learning will take place. As indicated earlier the service provider will work for hand in hand with the parents to help them accommodate the problems and hardships that they will encounter during the transition period of the child. The providers identify stressful areas that the parents have and help them in recruiting support networks (Brambring et al., 1996). They are also trained on any medical equipment to be used if need be. The support is usually both formal and informal. From the time the child is taken to school, there should be a timetable for his study and classes. The child should go through the various stages chronologically. On the other hand, the parents should also start their classes on how to take care of the child.
The strategies for implementing the transition plan include assessment, screening, program planning, standardization, eligibility, and ideology. Assessment is the procedure of collecting data for decision-making. In this process, it is good to note the age and the disability of the child. The assessment also helps in the inclusion of the family members in the development process. Screening involves identifying the need or disabilities of different children and how to go about them. Program planning entails coming up with goals and objectives of the transition plan and the means of executing and achieving them. It also provides the skills needed by the child to take part in different natural environments. Standardization helps to work out the qualities and standards of the transition plan. Eligibility gives the details of how eligible the purpose of the transition plan is to both the child and the parents while ideology entails the ideas of the transition plan.
The transitions of a child with disabilities require proper planning and the people involved should have good professional backgrounds.
Brambring, M., Rauh, H., & Beelmann, A. (1996). Early childhood intervention: theory, evaluation, and practice. Paris: Walter de Gruyter.
Kirk, S. A., Gallagher, J. J., & Anastasiow, N. J. (1997). Educating exceptional children. London: Houghton Mifflin.
Shonkoff, J. P., & Meisels, S. (2000). Handbook of early childhood intervention. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.