On a very snowy Saturday morning on Saturday, January 24, 2014, a small, but strong contingent donned their snow gear and ventured out to Therapro to hear Barbara Sanna Collins, OTR/L’s seminar. Barbara presented her talk, Early Intervention Today, School Tomorrow…What You Need to Know to the audience of therapists, teachers, and child specialists. As the Clinical Director of the Massachusetts Brockton Early Childhood Intervention Program, she adeptly led us through the EI process from eligibility, to programming, and then to preparing for the transition to preschool or other appropriate services when the child “graduates” at the age of three years.
It was astounding to hear that 337,000 children and their families receive early intervention services in the US per year, with 50,000 per year in Massachusetts alone! Barbara updated us on the nitty gritty of how services are paid and how the states differ in their provision of services under Part C of the IDEA federal grant program.
Barbara shared video clips of individual and group treatment sessions in her program that took place at her center as well as at the child’s home. She noted that in the transition to a preschool program, parents who are accustomed to having their hand held through those first 3 years of participation in a program miss this when their child enters the school system - a change from “family focused” services to “child focused” services occurs. The EI team prepares the family and child for this inevitable change in service delivery. At Brockton EI, the team ensures that every child participates in a toddler group before “graduation” so that he/she experiences some typical preschool activities, i.e. transitioning from one activity to another.
Early intervention providers have several unique roles that include the provision of services that help the child with special health care needs reach their highest potential at age three and helping families gain confidence as parents and advocates for their children.
The following testimonials attest to the valuable information Barb presented in her seminar:
“Very informative – A window into the work of EI professionals. Loved the videos of the therapeutic work. Presentation was fantastic!” Marisa G.
“Wonderful presentation. So much good info. Thanks.” Anonymous.
“Very informative and motivating!” Julia H.
“Very informational – I loved the treatment videos!!” Meghan C.
Thank you, Barb!
Filomena Connor, MS, OTR/L