Getting help through the early childhood approach

The following sections will give you more information on how you and your child can get supports through the early childhood approach.

Talk to your health professional

If you have any concerns about your child’s development, talking to your child’s doctor, educator, child health nurse or a health service is a good place to start.

Remember your child does not need a referral from a medical professional or a diagnosed disability to get supports through our early childhood approach.

To help GPs and other professionals, we have developed the Early childhood approach - a guide for health professionals (PDF 3MB).

Connecting with an early childhood partner

After talking with your child’s health or educational professional, our early childhood partners can help you connect to the right supports for your child. When you connect with an early childhood partner they will:

  • work with you to understand your child’s needs
  • make recommendations about what early connections will be best for your child.  

Early connections can help you support your child’s development regardless of whether they’re eligible for to the NDIS. For more information, check out Our Guideline – Early connections and go to Help for your child.

Find an early childhood partner in your area. You can also contact us or call 1800 800 110. 

How will an early childhood partner know what supports my child’s needs?

Early childhood partners are teams of early childhood professionals, such as occupational therapists, speech pathologists or early childhood educators. When you meet with an early childhood partner, they will ask you about their child’s day to day life to help understand concerns such as how the child; plays, talks with other children, helps take care of themselves, tell others what they need and want. 

Your early childhood partner will also look at information from doctors, therapists and early childhood educators or school teachers if they are available.

Your early childhood partner may use assessment and screening tools which have been shown to help them to learn more about a child’s development and what they can do in everyday activities. 

The early childhood partner will also observe the child in familiar places such as home and childcare. They’ll see what the child is good at, their interests and the areas where they need more help. They’ll use this information to assess the child’s support needs.

This helps your early childhood partner learn more about your child’s development and work out the best types of support for your child. 

Find out more information on how we evidence developmental delay for children younger than 6.

Remember an early childhood partner will not make a diagnosis. If you are looking for a diagnosis for your child, your early childhood partner will help you connect with a health professional like your GP. 

This page current as of
11 November 2021
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