Skip to content

Ask Miss Patti: Give your struggling child the early intervention they need

Think of a cold lake. Some people just jump in; others take their time, slowly getting used to the water
I am a HUGE advocate for early intervention! Both my boys definitely would not be as successful as they are today without it.

Dear Miss Patti,

My three, soon to be four-year-old, has been having a hard time at preschool. He hits other children and his teachers and he screams when things don’t go as planned. His preschool teacher has asked if they can put in a referral for a support worker but this concerns me. I don’t want him to feel different or for the other children to consider him different, but I know that the staff can’t give him all their attention either.

—On The Fence


Dear On the Fence,

I hate to break it to you, but your child probably already feels different and he probably sticks out due to his struggles. I am a HUGE advocate for early intervention! Both my boys definitely would not be as successful as they are today without it.

Sometimes they just need a bit of guidance and a navigator to help with regulation, patience, and changes that occur in a normal day at daycare or preschool. Many educators would agree that trying to get young children to follow routines and the plans of the day is like herding cats, so when one of them is struggling and we have to give all our attention to the one, we’ve lost the rest (not literally but their attention). Then we turn back to the group to start again and the one that is struggling might get triggered by something again-this is a vicious cycle that can cause a lot of exhaustion, frustration, and guilt for the educators trying to create a fun and enjoyable day for all the children.

When we can have an extra hand, whose sole responsibility is supporting the one child, not only does this one child get the undivided attention they need, the other educators can then spend the time needed for the rest.

Imagine someone offered you a one-on-one teacher in school? Wouldn’t you want that for your child? See it as an incredible opportunity rather than a negative. You would much rather have this support now to help teach the skills needed to go with the flow versus they enter school, and the struggles are still there and now there are more expectations, bigger class sizes, and maybe no support available. In the schools there usually needs to be a diagnosis for support and even then, there is a time limit (my son was only supposed to get 2.5 hours a day). In a daycare/preschool setting, no diagnosis is needed and they can have that support the whole time they are there!

It also doesn’t automatically mean there is a serious issue involved. Some children just need more time to grow and warm up to new situations. Some children aren’t comfortable with a lot of noise and busyness. One thing my son’s struggles taught me is that daycares/preschools and schools are set up for extroverts — not introverts. It’s a real struggle for the child who just wants to be on his own, do his own thing and have peace and quiet. Maybe someone out there needs to start up one dedicated to our introverts?

Having said that, it is important that they learn to function with others around but it needs to be baby steps-this is where a one on one support person comes in and can help them engage in the day at their own pace. Think of a cold lake. Some people just jump in; others take their time, slowly getting used to the water. Imagine the support person is the one holding their hand as they slowly get used to the cold lake.

Send your questions to Miss Patti at

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks