Early Intervention

Autism vs Early Intervention

Connecting Dots Foundation provides therapeutic, early intervention services for children with autism aged two to twelve years old.  Our focus is on helping children to develop essential skills so they can live their best lives, achieve their goals and participate meaningfully in the community. 


Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) is the process of providing specialized support and services for infants and young children with developmental delays or disabilities, and their families in order to promote development, well-being and community participation.  

Early Childhood Intervention Services (ECIS) support children with a disability or developmental delay from birth to school entry and their families. ECIS provides therapy and/or education, counselling, service planning and coordination, assistance and support to access services such as kindergarten and child care.  

Services are tailored to meet the individual needs of the child. Services are focused on supporting the child in their natural environments and in their everyday experiences and activities.  

The overall aim of these services is to provide parents and families with the knowledge, skills and support to meet the needs of their child and to optimize the child’s development and ability to participate in family and community life. Services are provided using a family-cantered approach, recognizing the importance of working in partnership with the family. 

How does the Early Intervention team work?

The Early Intervention team follows a family-cantered approach. This means that everyone who is involved with your child works together to plan and prioritise your child’s intervention. This includes:  

  • the Early Intervention team, 
  • your child and family, 
  • other service providers such as private therapists, 
  • early childhood services and schools and; 
  • other community organizations. 

Working in partnerships gives you choice and control about how to best support your child.   

Your Early Intervention team can include: 

  • Physiotherapists 
  • Occupational Therapists 
  • Speech Pathologists 
  • Family Support Workers 
  • Special Educators 
  • Behaviour Support Workers 

Early Invention Team understands the importance of the input of the family into the services that children receive.  Including as many members of a child’s family as possible, and their community is beneficial to positive outcomes.  To learn more about the family cantered approach and the way we work with your family, please visit our key worker page.


CDF specialized Transdisciplinary Early Intervention Program teams consists of professional therapists including: Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists, Psychologist, Speech Pathologists and Educators. 

Depending on the needs of your child, family and other factors, you can choose which therapist are included in your transdisciplinary team and the frequency in which you see them.

The Role of the Occupational Therapist

The Occupational Therapists assist the team around the child (family, carers, early childhood setting and other professionals) to gain information about the child’s movement and sensory skills including:  

  • fine motor abilities 
  • posture 
  • motor planning/praxis 
  • sensory processing skills 

The Occupational Therapists can then look at the impact of these abilities on the child’s:  

  • self care skills (the ability to cope with feeding, 
  • dressing, grooming and toileting);
  • developing drawing and cutting skills; play abilities; 
  • ability to attend to tasks; 
  • social and communication skills 

This information and support helps teams around the child work towards the goals the family has for their child.  

The Occupational Therapists also develop resources and handouts and run parent information sessions on sensory processing, toilet training, drawing, fine motor skills and self care tasks.

The Role of the Speech Pathologist

The Speech Pathologists assist the team around the child (family, careers, early childhood educators, occupational therapists, support workers and other professionals) to:  

  • Assess children’s feeding and communication skills 
  • Assist families to identify their child’s strengths and functional goals for intervention 
  • Provide families with information and strategies to assist them to facilitate the development of their child’s feeding and communication skills
  • Work as part of the trans-disciplinary team in the early childhood intervention programs 
  • Provide education programs including Hanen® programs www.hanen.org “It Takes Two to Talk”- The Hanen® program for parents of children with language delays “More than Words”

Foster a total communication approach through the use of both verbal (e.g. talking and listening) and non-verbal (e.g. facial expression, gesture, alternative and augmentative communication systems) to help children understand language and express themselves. Non-verbal support systems include using:  

  • “Visual supports” such as objects, photos, Board maker, written words
  • Key Word Sign 
  • VOCAS (voice output communication aids) and switch devices

The Role of the Physiotherapist

The Physiotherapist assists the team around the child (family, carers, early childhood setting and other professionals) to:  

  • Gain an understanding of a child’s movement and gross motor function through assessment and observation 
  • Assist families to identify their child’s strengths and functional goals for intervention 
  • Provide information and advice regarding handling, positioning and therapy through play and/or exercise 
  • Work towards goals in the early childhood intervention programs as part of the multidisciplinary team 
  • Therapy for children is tailored towards play and games but with specialised exercises focusing on individualised goals. 

Therapy programs may include games, exercises and handling techniques to:  

  • facilitate motor development 
  • improve quality of movement 
  • improve posture 
  • strengthen weak muscles 
  • stretch tight muscles 
  • improve balance and coordination 
  • improve and support foot posture 
  • Advice may be given on appropriate positioning, and mobility equipment including seating, standing frames, walkers and mobility aids, as well as orthotics and footwear.

The Role of the Educator

Apply their expertise in childhood development, play development, behaviour support and transition to school processes. Our Educators are a valuable addition to the transdisciplinary model by providing a link between your Early Childhood Intervention Team and the community.  

Our Educators:  

  • Work as a team member and providing for the needs of your child. 
  • Liaise with families and other service providers in planning, delivering and evaluating supports. 
  • Liaises with community services providers  to enhance community participation. 
  • Provide services in a variety of settings such as: home, early childhood education setting, or community setting such as park, swimming lessons etc. 

The Role of the Family Worker

Are an additional team member who can be added to your transdisciplinary model to support you as a parent or carer. You can choose for our family worker to be your Key Worker in the Transdisciplinary model.  

Our Family Workers are here to work closely with CDF families to offer support, advocate for the families and provide information and referral support. They also promote social and group opportunities for families.