Last updated more than 5 years ago
Early years support incorporates all forms of help and support (general guidance, rehabilitation and support measures) for children aged between 0 and 4 (before pre-school). It provides a general therapeutic environment in the communes, and organises screening to pick up any disabilities or developmental disorders through its specialist services.
Specialist support and rehabilitation services aim, above all, to help children suffering from physical, mental/psychological, sensory or other disorders. Early years support offers care for children with special needs and support for their family.
The focus is on close collaboration with the family and on interactions between parents and the child or children. Early years support professionals aim to inform parents of the nature of their child's problems and of the support available, as well as providing assistance with their child's education and day-to-day living.
Who is concerned
Early years support is for all children aged between 0 and 4 years of age, and more specifically, those presenting with a disability or the risk of a developmental disorder in one or more areas, such as:
- motor activity (the way in which children run, jump, walk, grasp things in their hands, and so on);
- sensory perception (children's use of what they hear, see, smell, and so on);
- cognition (development of thought);
- communication and language (the way in which children talk and understand instructions, and so on);
- autonomy (getting dressed, eating, going to the toilet, and so on);
- socialisation (children's relationships with other children, with their parents and other adults, following rules, and so on);
- personality (the way in which children communicate their wants and needs, and so on).
How to proceed
General supervision and care provided by early years support services
Screening by compulsory medical check-ups
In order to diagnose disorders as early as possible, systematic medical check-ups are carried out right from birth.
For newborns and very young children, 6 medical check-ups with paediatricians or GPs, at pre-defined intervals (until the child is 24 months old), are compulsory in order for parents to be eligible to receive the postnatal allowance.
Screening by free consultation services
In addition to compulsory medical check-ups, parents can have children aged between 0 and 4 years of age examined during infant consultations provided by the Luxembourg Red Cross and the Luxembourg league of medico-social prevention and action (Ligue de prévention et d’action médico-sociales).
After the birth of a child, parents are contacted in writing. Invitations to consultations state the place, dates and opening times when parents can have their children examined.
Check-ups are carried out at local health centres. Parents have to bring the child's vaccination card and health record book to the initial consultation.
As a rule, these optional examinations focus on diagnosing any physical disorders (examining children for early diagnosis of developmental disorders).
Care provided by the support, prevention and rehabilitation services
If parents feel their child's development is not normal, or if a routine examination has detected a possible issue, they can contact an early years support service.
The country has 2 early years rehabilitation services which work together closely, but operate differently:
- Rehabilitation of Newborns - Hëllef fir de Puppelchen a.s.b.l.;
- Sipo, which offers educational and therapeutic monitoring for young children and their families, mainly at home.
The services provided by the rehabilitation service - Hëllef fir de Puppelchen a.s.b.l. - involves therapeutic care (observation, treatment and referrals) for children aged between 0 and 4 years of age, presenting with the following disorder(s):
- motor disorders (neuromuscular or orthopaedic);
- sensory disorders;
- learning difficulties and motor disorders;
- communication and language disorders;
- behavioural disorders;
- delayed development.
Sipo services are available at parents' request and include educational psychology assessments and therapeutic care for young children (0-6 years of age), presenting with a developmental disorder or risk. This assistance covers all aspects of early years support, ranging from screening and identification of disorders through to interventions.
For this reason, the service consists, on the one hand, of an assessment service which serves to identify not only children's developmental delays but also their skills and, on the other, a therapeutic support service providing comprehensive and individual developmental stimulation, notably through play.
This early years support is for children suffering from the disorders listed above.
Hearing and language difficulties
Once they reach the age of 3 months, children are sent a written invitation to attend a local health centre for a hearing and language development check-up. These check-ups are not compulsory, but parents are advised to attend so that any problems can be picked up as early as possible.
If problems are identified, parents can contact the audiology service, whose services are free of charge and include hearing tests, amongst other things. Once children start school, they can be cared for by the Speech Therapy Centre in the event of severe hearing problems.
Once they reach the age of 6 months, children are sent a written invitation to attend a local health centre for an eye test. These free check-ups are not compulsory, but parents are advised to attend so that any anomalies can be picked up as early as possible. In the event of severe disorders, parents can take their child to the visual impairments and disorders service, which is there to diagnose and prevent sight disorders.
Some children have a tendency towards isolation, whilst others demonstrate hyperactivity, often accompanied by attention deficit disorders.
Parents who notice this type of disorder in their child can contact one or more of the services or organisations listed in the contact box, that deal with behavioural disorders.