Friday, March 6, 2015

Guest Post: Early Intervention in Real Life

Early intervention (EI) programs are becoming more and more popular each day in the United States. More parents are turning with relief to the answers and growth that comes to their family and child from these programs. Yet so much is still not understood about EI, leaving children that could be benefited so much without it's services. 

We are excited to have Heather Waters, the Early Intervention Director from Kids on the Move, guest posting with us today as she shares her early intervention experience! 

"As the current Director of a local Early Intervention program, I have had the unique opportunity to both deliver and receive early intervention services from Kids on the Move.  In 2001-2002 I had the pleasure of enrolling in early intervention and receiving monthly services from a Development Specialist to support my twin daughters, Baylie and Kylie, with their language development and challenges with self-regulation.

Although many commonly mistake early intervention as a program designed solely to support families of children with diagnosed medical conditions, early intervention also exists to enhance the growth and development of those experiencing developmental delays (as determined by assessment).  Early intervention services minimize the need for special education and related services after infants and toddlers reach school age. A primary objective of early intervention is to enhance the capacity and capabilities of families to meet the needs of their child throughout the lifespan.

In 2014, 15% of children that exited from early intervention at Kids on the Move did so because they demonstrated age-appropriate functioning in all areas of development. It was a very bittersweet experience when my daughters were deemed developmentally age-appropriate and thus required to exit from services prior to the age of three. My family looked forward to the monthly visits and participation in center-based services. The support rendered on behalf of my family built my confidence as a parent and provided me with the additional resources needed to increase their expressive language skills and better-manage their sensory needs.

As a graduate of the program, I am a strong proponent of early intervention. If you have any concerns about your child’s development, contacting your local early intervention agency is a logical next step. The evaluation is administered free of charge. If eligible, the services you receive are parent-driven and primarily delivered in the convenience of your own home. Early Intervention is not a program that provides official mental or medical diagnoses’. It’s not uncommon for parents to be concerned about their child being labeled or the perceptions of friends, family, and neighbors if early intervention services are accessed. I, too had similar concerns. What helped me make the decision to seek an evaluation was my desire to provide my girls with opportunities and experiences similar to their same-age, typically developing peers.  I so very much wanted them to communicate like other toddlers their age and I knew I needed additional support to accomplish this goal.

When Baylie and Kylie graduated, they were both speaking in complete sentences with clear articulation! And, if I can brag a little they both transitioned into kindergarten reading on a 2nd grade level!! The research supports improved outcomes for children and families enrolled in early intervention and I attest that it’s a program that will make a lasting, positive impact on your child and family!"

What are your success stories from early intervention?

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