An exploratory study of the implementation of early intervention workshops for primary caregivers in Johannesburg
Background. If primary caregivers are able to stimulate their children’s development effectively, then the prevalence of children at risk of cognitive and language developmental delays could decrease and the shortage of available services for the identified children could be addressed, as hopefully fewer children would require extensive early intervention (EI) services later on in life.
Objective. To develop and implement an EI workshop with primary caregivers on how to provide language and cognitive stimulation through daily living activities (DLAs).
Methods. Two workshops were conducted at two daycare centres, focusing on daily language stimulation, with the primary caregivers of children aged between 0 and 3 years. A pre-workshop, semi-structured group interview was conducted to gain insight into the participants’ knowledge and expectations. This was followed with a post-workshop, semi-structured group interview to gain insight into and feedback on how the participants were able to carry over the techniques in order to stimulate their children in DLAs. The data were analysed using thematic data analysis.
Results. It was found that although participants demonstrated the basic understanding of the concept of EI, their knowledge improved with the workshop. The participants reported that they were able to implement the techniques gained from the workshop and noticed a change in their children’s behaviour and communication within the space of 1 week. The participants also reported on the ease of stimulating their children through DLAs and that no additional time had to be scheduled for stimulation.
Conclusion. The workshops have the potential to target populations regardless of their socioeconomic status, cultural beliefs, linguistic differences, and access to medical institutions.