Early intervention program helps children across Nova Scotia

Published on August 16, 2017

Shawn and Natalie Dickson were able to get help for three of their children, from left, Jordan, Linkoln and Hayleigh, through the Early Childhood Intervention program.

©Lynn Curwin/Truro Daily News

BIBLE HILL, N.S. – Natalie Dickson is positive that without the early childhood intervention program, her youngest son wouldn’t be able to attend school this fall.

Linkoln, who will begin Primary in September, has severe language and articulation delays, but the help he’s received has made a big difference in several ways.

“A year ago he wouldn’t have come out of the truck with a crowd like this around,” said Natalie, looking around at the large group taking part in the recent Early Childhood Intervention Services family day at the Bible Hill Recreation Park. “He sees a speech therapist and uses an assistive communication device, and his confidence has improved.”

Natalie first got in touch with the service six years ago when she noticed her daughter Hayleigh, who is now eight, was experiencing delays in language and behaviour.

“She walked and sat up late, and had minimum language skills,” she said. “The help she was given got her ready for school.”

Her eight-year-old son, Jordan, was extremely emotional and had poor impulse control. He got help with coping mechanisms that allow him to fit in to groups and be comfortable.

Nova Scotia Early Childhood Intervention Services provides assistance to families of young children between birth and school entry who are experiencing delays in development or are at biological risk for delays. It has been running programs in the Truro area for 30 years.

“Parents can refer to our services themselves,” said Erin Jolly, the regional director. “There’s no fee for our services and we operate province-wide.

“We really work to support families and enhance parenting skills and confidence. Parents really notice a difference when there’s early intervention.”

The Truro office serves Colchester and East Hants and is currently working with about 90 children. There are about 1,350 children using the service across Nova Scotia.