Program funded: September 2013 through August 2016
Parent Breanna Standley, whose son, 2-year-old Hunter, has an autism diagnosis, breathes a sigh of relief knowing that the sessions her son has with his special educator Katherine Meenk and speech language pathologist Mary Kay Snedden are making a difference. She should know. Shes seen significant improvements in his development in the five months since the family began working with Wonderland Developmental Center.
Not only is Katherine finding techniques to teach Hunter that resonate with him, shes also modeling her methods with Breanna and her family.
Katherines really great, and I know Hunter enjoys having her come here, Breanna said. She gives us ideas of how to respond to different behaviors.
Children who need developmental supports at any time from birth to age 3 dont all fit the same mold. Some require weekly therapy sessions with a range of specialists, such as: speech, physical and occupational therapists, and special educators. For others, monthly sessions are a better fit. In any case, early intervention through specialists in the appropriate fields has shown children with delays will be better prepared than those who need, but dont receive, support.
A new program model, called The Next Level, is being offered through Wonderland Developmental Center with support from the Verdant Health Commission, and its off to a great start.
The Next Level program team first established a pyramid of three levels of identified needs (Level 3 being the greatest) with corresponding services to meet those needs. The higher the level identified through evaluation of a child, the greater the need, and the more intense the services recommended. Following the developmental evaluation, every child is assigned to a trans-disciplinary team of occupational, physical, and speech therapists, special educators, social workers, infant mental health specialists and family resources coordinators. Child and family needs are discussed, and a level of service is recommended by the team to offer to the family. All services are optional, so families can choose to participate at whatever level they feel would be most beneficial to their child and family. Wonderland is tracking child and family outcomes based on level of service in the hopes of identifying what factors result in the best outcomes for children with varied delays and disabilities including, but not limited to, autism frequency of sessions, number of providers, service combinations, etc.
Wonderland services are provided in the childs natural learning environment, most often the home, but also child care centers, play groups, parks, etc.; wherever the child and family would normally spend their time. This is a practice used by many early intervention programs, but what Wonderland is doing is unique in the way they determine what level of service a child and family needs. Verdant began supporting this program in September 2013, with current funding running through August 2016.
If you or a family member is concerned about how a child age birth to three years residing in South Snohomish County is developing, you may contact Wonderland for a developmental evaluation at (206) 364-3777 or firstname.lastname@example.org. More information is available online at www.wdcbirthtothree.org/referachild.html.