As an educational psychologist working in a centre offering the Early Intervention Programme for Infants and Children (EIPIC), I see children under the age of seven who are developmentally delayed. Before they are placed in EIPIC centres, young children suspected of developmental challenges seek professional help in primary care settings i.e., hospitals and local clinics. After the initial assessments and interventions at the hospitals, our clients enrol into EIPIC centres, and they are then seen by a transdisciplinary team of professionals.
Amongst these professionals are psychologists, who are committed to sustaining the level of professional help needed. As a CPH psychologist based in a Social Service Organisation (SSO) EIPIC centre, I am keen to provide quality and efficient help for children and families who are in need of psychological services. For example, when caregivers enquire on the appropriate ways of handling a child’s tantrums, I am readily available to advise and demonstrate behaviour management strategies. When it is time to conduct school placement assessments, my regular presence at the centre means that I am able to build good rapport with the children and conduct valid psychological assessments, so as to facilitate timely applications into special schools.
Clients and families receiving the EIPIC usually reside near the centres they attend. This is a desirable arrangement, because our clients are familiar and comfortable in their own environment. When families see that we make the effort to arrive at their doorstep during home visits, it is easier to establish rapport and consequently, families will be receptive to recommendations we provide. Working close to our clients and families also ensure that we recommend strategies that are both client- and family-centred, as well as integrated within family routines. As families realise the relevance of intervention, they are also more likely to implement them at home and be consistent with the EIPIC team in their home approach.
By actively and regularly sharing my knowledge to clients and families, I hope to empower the community I serve. Empowering families in their most natural settings also advocates for our clients and the need for our society at large to be more inclusive and gracious. The bonus for me is that the community in which I am able to share my knowledge on psychology with, is coincidentally also the community I live and grew up in!
Ernest Tan, Senior Educational Psychologist