January 20th, 2021

Building a strong foundation

By Submitted Article on January 22, 2020.

Early supports beneficial for children with developmental delays

Wilco Tymensen

and Andra Johnson


For decades research has supported early intervention for children with developmental delays. Whether the delay is mild, moderate or severe, the outcomes for the child are more positive if intervention occurs in early childhood rather than waiting for the child to “grow out of it.” Children diagnosed with cognitive delays, speech or language delays, Down syndrome, autism or a myriad of other concerns benefit from early supports and programming to target their individual areas of need.

Recent reports from both the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) and the Conference Board of Canada support quality early childhood education and intervention because of the economic return. For every dollar spent on quality early childhood education programs, the future economic savings is $6 and the “benefit for disadvantaged children is in the double digits” (TD Bank report, 2012).

In acknowledgment of the effectiveness and long-term benefits of early supports for children’s developmental delays, Horizon School Division offers preschool programs to provide opportunities for children to access quality programming and supports targeted intervention to meet children’s individual learning needs. The preschool programs provide an inclusive environment, where both children with developmental challenges and typically developing children are playing and learning together. Inclusive settings provide opportunities for children to not only learn together but to learn from one another. When effective supports are in place prior to a child entering kindergarten, we do not lose precious time in identifying and addressing the child’s needs.

Each spring, Horizon School Division offers free developmental checkups for children three to five years of age to take a closer look at the child’s development in four main areas: awareness of self and environment; cognitive skills; language and communication; and physical development. Having the children participate in a series of age-appropriate assessment activities is a way to help determine if children are meeting developmental milestones and helps identify any areas where they may need additional support.

Registration for the 2020-21 school year has begun for both kindergarten and Early Learning within the Horizon School Division as well as other divisions. Providing all children with an opportunity to attend a quality early childhood education program helps build a strong foundation for a child’s future success from the beginning of their school career and up into adulthood. We encourage parents with future students to access a developmental checkup, as our ability to support your child’s needs appropriately depends on it.

Wilco Tymensen is the Superintendent of Horizon School Division and Andra Johnson is the Supervisor of Early Learning.

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