Early Childhood Intervention
This website is a place for families who are facing
challenges pertaining to their child's development and
It is a place to find answers and practical
suggestions. That's what Early Intervention Support is all
Whether a family has a child with a challenging behavior,
a disability or developmental issue, childhood is short - it
should be savored and enjoyed.
Ask a Therapist
We understand developmental milestones and the challenges
of Special Needs children. We spend a great deal of time
with families understanding the inner workings of childhood
routines and interactions. Ask us about your child today!
Ask a Therapist
Institutional vs. Home Life
How an Institutional Setting Differs from a Warm, Home
If you adopt a child who has been living in an institutional setting,
keep in mind that its often hard for children in these settings to become
attached to their caregivers.
The caregivers rotate in shifts and there are usually too few of them. A
shortage of adult caregivers means the baby has few opportunities for
face-to-face verbal or social communication.
In addition, instead of being exposed to different surroundings and
positions, young infants lie on their backs, swaddled, staring at the
ceiling. A baby's need for food and diaper changing is done according to the
institutions schedule, not according to the baby's needs.
When a baby cries out in pain or illness, he or she isn't reliably
Older infants and toddlers are confined to playpens. Instead of being read
to or exposed to painting or water play, older toddlers and preschoolers
spend their days wandering around a playroom.
When children are fed, its often not enough food and the mealtimes are
rarely pleasant or times meant to develop social skills. Some children in
institutions are also exposed to physical, sexual, or emotional abuse in
addition to neglect.
Raised in this type of setting, a child learns:
- Its every kid for him or herself.
- Don't trust adults they might help you now, but probably wont be
around next time you need them. Adults aren't that helpful anyway.
- Eat as much as you can, whenever you can.
- Be careful at night, that's when you're really on your own.
In order to survive in an institutional setting, children develop coping
strategies. For example, some children need very little in the way of adult
attention and get enough to meet their needs. Others develop
self-stimulatory activities to entertain themselves. For others, withdrawing
becomes the way they cope.
Those who learned at an early age that adults wouldn't always try to ease
their pain either learn to ignore pain, or don't bother to seek an adults
comfort when hurt. While these strategies may be an effective way to deal
with life in an institution, they can interfere with the child's ability to
develop a healthy attachment once they move into a nurturing family
Once you understand what the child has gone through during the early
months or years of his or her life, you can see the importance of taking the
time to let the child become attached to you. To help start things off on a
solid first step, pack toys that are small, lightweight and simple, such as:
a soft blanket, cuddly baby doll, inflatable beach ball, toy car, bottle of
bubbles, books tactile books, lift-the-flap books, photo albums of your home
and family, etc.
Adapted from the International Adoption Health Services of Western
Pennsylvania, Pediatric Alliance, PC
More Parenting Tips Related to Adoption
Parenting Tips in Other Areas Include
Learn More About Early Intervention
Thankfully, there are many ways to deal with childhood developmental
delays and behaviors. These include in-home services, outpatient (you take
your child to a clinic), inpatient (following injury or surgery) and school
based services. Which type of therapy should you choose?
Visit our Therapy Options
area to learn more.
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