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Special Instruction

100_7694_150Special Instruction services are often one-on-one sessions with child and caregiver. The teacher will coach the caregiver so they can help their child learn new skills in the area(s) with developmental delays. This is available in a variety of settings including your home, child cares or parent-child play group settings. Sometimes services are in the community such as the library, park or other places in the community.

Our trained staff is able to help all children birth to three years old whatever their challenges are. A child will have an initial evaluation to learn his or her current level of skills and then a specific program will be developed.

Parenting Workshops are offered to families whose child qualifies for behavioral/social services. The Workshop is offered two times a year. It is a seven-session class and is designed to help families whose children have specific behavioral concerns.

Summer Play Date/Family Reading Nights are in June and August. They are designed to provide fun activities for the whole family. They are usually held from 5:30pm to 7:00pm.

Service Location Options:
The Infant Toddler Program strives to provide early intervention services in the child’s natural environment. Services often occur in the caregiver’s home or in the child’s childcare setting. Services may also be provided individually or in a group setting at one of our play groups. Caregivers, along with FRC’s, will decide what setting works best for your family. And know that whatever is initially decided can be changed based on your child and your family needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should my child be able to sit and pay attention?
A child should be able to sit and pay attention to a preferred activity a minute for each year in age.
This is important because a child must be able to pay attention to something in order to learn. Teachers specializing in birth to three, work with families to help their child increase his/her attention span by using motivators, highly preferred toys and redirection. As the child matures their attention span should lengthen.

How can I get my child to sit and listen to a book?
It can be challenging to get a toddler to sit still and listen to a story. It is important to remember they have a short attentions span so books with bright simple pictures, few words and textures are a great place to start. Remember, you do not need to read every word on the page, you can make up a story, or just label the pictures, for example, “Look here’s a bunny hopping.” The child should involved in the story as well, touching/patting the pages and helping turn the pages. Reading to a child during snack times, bath times and bedtimes helps because the child is already contained.

What is the best way to play with my child? Why is play important?
“Play is your child’s job”, we may have heard this saying, but what does it mean? A toddler is very busy learning about his world through play. Your child is learning about the physical, social, emotional world in which he/she lives, as well as academic skills (colors, shapes, language). Getting on the floor with your child or at their eye level is key. Allow them to tell you what to do next, how to play with the particular toy. Let them control the game as long as it is safe. Giving your child the opportunity to direct his/her play is part of the foundation for a strong emotional bond. It also models following a direction and children will be more likely to follow your directions.

How much screen time for cell phones, computers, TV and tablets should my toddler have?
This an area where real life and the recommendations of early childhood, educational or medical professionals can seem hard to reconcile.  However, being aware of the concerns and allowing screen time as a privilege rather than the main focus of your toddler’s day is the key.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued media guidelines in 2011 discouraging screen time until after a child turns 2.  Specifically, passive screen viewing, which is sitting the baby in front of a TV or film or having it playing in the background for most of the day.  Why?  Well, as the following excerpt from the online article, Why to Avoid TV Before Age 2 states, “Kids’ brains grow profoundly during the first 3 years of life, with the brain tripling in mass in just the first 12 months. The stimuli children experience during this period profoundly influence brain development. Images on screens behave in ways that differ dramatically from those in the real world…Infants may stare at the bright colors and motion on a screen, but their brains are incapable of making sense or meaning out of all those bizarre pictures. It takes 2 full years for a baby’s brain to develop to the point where the symbols on a screen come to represent their equivalents in the real world.”

Along with concerns for brain development, “(t)he problem lies not only with what toddlers are doing while they’re watching TV; it’s what they aren’t doing.”  Babies and toddlers learn best from interacting with people.  Also, if a child is having screen time, TV or otherwise, they are not playing with toys or participating in developmentally appropriate activities.  How a person’s voice, face and body works together for communicating and teaching is far superior to content on screens. Babies and toddlers who get too much screen time often have language delays, problems with their attention span & short-term memory, and may experience trouble sleeping.

How can screen time in real life be accomplished with success, and be useful for both the child and the parent? In the online article What You Need to Know About Babies, Toddlers and Screen Time, the October 2013 updated media guidelines from the AAP recommend balance for the use of screen time for babies.  The main points to consider are:

  • discourage passive screen time for children 2 and under
  • use limited active screen time such as video chatting with Skype or FaceTime which includes live human interaction
  • be very careful about the “instructional or educational” apps allowed for babies and toddlers to play with on phones or tablets
  • most importantly – if a parent uses interactive media with their child, sit down and engage with the child while it’s being used.

Screen time is part of our everyday world.  Being mindful of how much of a part it plays in our adult lives and our children’s lives and learning makes all the difference.