A child’s brain undergoes an amazing period of development from birth to 3-years-old, producing 700 new neural connections a second. The National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families states that 90 percent of brain development happens before a child reaches age 5.
Relationships, environment and experiences are the key elements that we keep in mind as early intervention continues to evolve at the Starting Gate. The Fayette County Board of Developmental Disabilities program is growing and changing. A shift in federal and state philosophy, following the coaching model of evidence-based research encourages professional support of children and families in their natural environments.
Each child in our program has access to a full team of therapists and developmental specialists and a primary service provider that works with the family and the child in daily routines. Our center-based groups continue to promote social opportunities in what we call positive peer culture making learning interactive and fun.
Adding to this interaction and fun, we now have a therapist certified in the P.L.A.Y. Project. We embrace these thoughts, “By doing what your child loves, your child loves being with you.” Dr. Solomon dedicated his private practice and 20 years of research to The PLAY Project and autism (now diagnosed in one of 68 children), intervention that is based on how children learn best. Parents, caregivers and their PLAY Project consultant partner together to create an individualized plan for the child.
Through observation, modeling, video review and coaching, families then work directly with their child to connect together and enhance development. Family involvement is critical. The Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) in 2011 determined that they would launch this important evidence-based model. Then, in 2015, the State of Ohio supported The Childhood League Center’s initiative to help bring PLAY Project to even more families, launching the PLAY Project Center. Ohio has the first and only one like it in the nation.
In another exciting way to enhance experiences and environments, we are partnering with our local YMCA to bring infant water therapy to early intervention. Christie Parker, our occupational therapist and Play Project consultant, is also recently certified in this area. This is an amazing arena to get kids and families engaged in the community and each other. Similar to our other programs, Christie will work with the child but more importantly with the parents, so they can duplicate the activities on their own, practicing many times before they meet again.
The Fayette County Board collaborates with Help Me Grow for service coordination and also employs a speech therapist, a nurse, and a developmental specialist to round out their core team. If you think your child has a developmental delay or diagnosed medical condition, please call 740-335-5111 to get started with services.
This article was submitted by Suzie Janasov, early childhood director at the Fayette County Board of DD.
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