At The Woodlands, we are dedicated to enriching the lives of individuals with disability and chronic illness – starting with kids! Our programs provide opportunities to increase peer socialization. Additionally, Woodlands’ programs promote the utilization of social skills for healthy relationships through recreational and fun experiences. Daytime programs for kids ages 6-12 at The Woodlands are the first step for life enrichment activities and building an individualized social community. Creating healthy separation between parents and children fosters growth, character, and self-perception. The Woodlands’ Director of Programs, Jesse Solomon, endorses healthy separation beginning at a young age for more successful transition to our overnight retreats and camps. “Creating a healthy separation at an early age is incredibly important, especially for families who have loved ones with a disability. Many times, when campers begin their experiences at The Woodlands as teenagers or young adults, they encounter difficulty with certain transitions, since they have formed an intense dependency on family members, alone. Additionally, beginning healthy separation at an early age creates an opportunity for parents’ respite, enabling them to be the best parents they can be.”
Participation in The Woodlands’ programs for children requires the ability to self-regulate behaviors and transitions, and the ability to be redirected easily by staff, in order to be successful in these programs. Early Intervention is a wonderful way to prepare and develop self-regulatory behaviors.
The Early Learning Institute’s (teli) mission is to enrich the lives of children, and those of their families, by providing specialized programs and individualized Early Intervention services for children with developmental delays. Whether in the home, or in the community, teli collaborates and partners with other community organizations to carry out that mission. Serving children ages 0-3 with developmental delays and their families, teli provides occupational, physical, and speech therapy, as well as nutritional, developmental, vision, hearing, and social work services. The objective of teli’s Early Intervention is to assist children in reaching the age-appropriate developmental and educational milestones necessary to grow and learn, ultimately equipping the child to enter kindergarten and be successful in school. teli’s services are a fantastic precursor to the programs offered by The Woodlands for children and teens. Jesse highly recommends early intervention to prepare Woodlands’ campers, “Since The Woodlands serves children beginning at age 6, many families come to us seeking guidance and resources to start their journey with their new born special needs child. Our partner The Early Learning Institute (teli) is always where we refer our potential families to start. The brain is strengthened by positive early experiences, especially stable relationships with caring and responsive adults, safe and supportive environments, and appropriate nutrition. Early social/ emotional development and physical health provide the foundation upon which cognitive and language skills develop; the same skills children 6 years of age and older need to acquire to be successful at The Woodlands.”
Why is Early Intervention important?
The first three years of life are a critical time of brain development for a child, building the foundation for development throughout the lifespan. Identification of any developmental delay concerns, and addressing those concerns early with appropriate Early Intervention therapies will enable a child to reach their full potential. Additionally, there are multiple benefits to Early Intervention.
Early Intervention will help your child make the most of learning through play. Purposeful play is a child’s work and is essential to brain development, particularly during their first three years. If your child appears to be experiencing developmental challenges, getting support early and understanding exactly how services can help is essential. Opportunities for play with a caregiver or Early Intervention specialist can facilitate the development of the skills needed for problem-solving, self-control, socialization, and communication.
Early Intervention may reduce the need for specialized instructional support during a child’s school years. Early Intervention can be effective in helping a majority of children make progress toward achieving age-appropriate developmental milestones. Children receiving Early Intervention support may show potential for increased academic readiness and to better be able to interact with their peers.
Early Intervention takes place where your child is most comfortable and becomes part of their routine. Teli therapists will meet with your family in a natural environment, such as your home or daycare. Children are most comfortable in familiar environments, and as a result, Early Intervention activities become part of the daily routine. Your child will progress by the repetition and incorporation of strategies into meal time, play time, and bed time.
The value of Early Intervention in addressing developmental delays has been recognized. As a result, through available funding, Early Intervention services through teli are provided to families at no cost.
Early Intervention empowers families to help their child reach his or her true potential. As a parent, you are your child’s primary teacher. Through Early Intervention services, you will be empowered with the tools necessary to help your child through their developmental challenges, so that they may reach their full potential.
How do I get started with Early Intervention for my child?
With 60 years of experience, teli has served thousands of families by establishing a caring and comfortable environment in which children and their families can thrive. Visit www.telipa.org for information about our services for children and families in Allegheny County and Washington County and their success stories. The knowledgeable and friendly staff at teli can assist with questions about Early Intervention and teli at 412-922-8322. If you want to self-refer, call the Alliance for Infants and Toddlers for an evaluation at 412-885-6000. Once your child is approved remember to ask for teli therapists for your child’s Early Intervention.
“High quality early intervention like teli’s services can change a child’s developmental trajectory and improve outcomes for children, families, and communities. Overall, teli’s services provide interventions that are likely to be more effective and less costly when provided earlier in life, rather than later,” Jesse states in closing. A strong foundation, built upon experience and support is an important tool that will continue to help both children and families as they grown and learn together.
Our thanks to teli for providing information about Early Intervention as presented in this article.