Even the most qualified special education teachers can use a helping hand when parents have developmental questions about their child. Well-prepared professionals who specialize in early childhood intervention and children's developmental needs can assist these educators, students and families in a variety of ways.
Here are some of the broad categories available to those who specialize in early childhood intervention services and support.
Direct Service to Students With Disabilities
Many people who specialize in early childhood intervention services and support go on to be early childhood teachers, health care specialists, family therapists or extension agents for nonprofit agencies like Enable.
These early intervention specialists work directly with children and families in a variety of settings. They address obstacles like behavioral difficulties, substance abuse and disability services, providing the extra support and specialization that public-school educators may not have the time or resources to offer themselves.
Organization and Certification of Special Education Services
People who specialize in early childhood intervention services and support may prefer to do more "behind-the-scenes" work to support those who serve directly. For instance, they might work with state institutions to oversee assessments and licensing guidelines. Others may train support professionals as college instructors, preparing future specialists and shaping the future of special education.
Research and Informational Writing
The work of direct support professionals and organizers is predicated, in part, on high-quality publications that provide information about how to best support students and families in need. A graduate degree program in early childhood intervention services and support offers the training needed to conduct research and generate publications that define and shape the field of early intervention.
Graduates of this degree who are more interested in finding and communicating special education and early intervention solutions can pursue research positions at a university or foundation that supports specialists, such as Early Head Start. They might also find employment writing and editing for textbook publishers, online platforms, magazines or newspapers, keeping readers abreast of new research findings and policies.
Provision, Promotion and Advocacy for Goods and Services
Children with disabilities often need tools and services to develop the necessary skills to support their development and education. Specialists in early childhood intervention services and support have the expertise to design new technologies and services and advocate for their accessibility. Career roles might include:
- Working with or for companies that create assistive technology devices, such as text-to-speech software
- Working in legislative or consumer advocate positions to both protect students and families from predatory companies and promote equitable access to tools and services
- Joining an early intervention advocacy organization like the National Child Care Association to empower those in need
An advanced degree in early childhood intervention support and services will open multiple and diverse career options. Depending on your personal and professional interests, you can support children and families with a range of services, from direct support to research and education, creating and promoting innovative solutions and advocating for the populations in need.
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