Celebrating Early Intervention at PGCS
By Ann Bono and Barbara Carter
In celebration of Early Intervention Awareness month in May, two of P.G. Chambers School’s early intervention staff members reflected upon their experience with early intervention, both as parents of children receiving services, and now as providers assisting children and their families.
“I’ve looked at life from both sides now.” The words of this Joni Mitchell song summarize the journey that Ann Bono and Barbara Carter have been on for many years. They are parents of children with special needs who have gone through early intervention programs. Because of their experiences, Ann and Barbara now work in the Early Intervention program at P.G. Chambers School. “It is a way of giving meaning to our experience to be able to share with new parents what we have learned,” explains Barbara.
Ann’s road with early intervention began in 2005 when her son, Matt, was evaluated and began receiving Developmental Intervention from P.G. Chambers school. Soon after therapy sessions began, it was determined that Matt and his brother both were on the Autism Spectrum. It was a blessing to have the therapists from P.G. Chambers School to help Ann through this difficult time. The program taught Ann about developmental milestones, how to build the foundations of communication by encouraging a point, wait for eye contact, and teaching through play. The world of sensory integration became well-explored and understood as she made obstacle courses for her sons, learned and used the “brushing protocol” and The Listening Program, as well as hung a swing in the basement. Ann learned how to be an active listener to and advocate for other parents who may be going through the same thing. Today, as an early intervention Child Developmental Specialist, Ann uses everything she learned from the P.G. Chambers School therapists in all of her therapy sessions.
Barbara’s journey began over 30 years ago when her twin girls were born three months prematurely. Back in 1984, that was a pretty devastating situation and both girls faced many medical and developmental challenges as they struggled for their lives. When the twins were finally discharged from the NICU, the family was referred to early intervention. Barbara remembers that time as emotional, stressful, and very confusing. “I had no idea what early intervention was about, but I felt so alone and confused that I figured it couldn’t hurt to reach out for support,” she explains. Making that phone call changed the lives of the family and today both girls are college graduates working in jobs they love. Barbara says, “I know we wouldn’t be where we are today without the help and support that early intervention gave to my family.”
Early Intervention at P.G. Chambers School:
Our comprehensive early intervention program promotes early learning and development of infants and toddlers with disabilities and developmental delays and supports their families. The program focuses on helping children learn the skills that typically develop during the first three years of life, such as:
- Physical mobility (reaching, rolling, crawling, and walking)
- Cognition (thinking, learning, solving problems)
- Communication (talking, listening, understanding)
- Social/emotional well-being (playing, feeling secure and happy)
- Self-help habits (eating, dressing)