This month’s recipient of the Mercer Savings Bank Giving Mission donation is the Mercer County Board of Developmental Disabilities for Early Childhood Intervention.
Early Childhood Intervention is a statewide system that provides services to parents of young children with developmental delays or disabilities. Each family is assigned a team of professionals dedicated to their children’s success.
“We support kids and families from birth to age three,” says Melissa Kaup, Early Childhood Services Director at the Organization. “We have a physical therapist that provides services here, as well as an occupational therapist and speech therapist. We also have a developmental specialist whose background is education. We also have support personnel. Our mission is to partner with and support individuals and their families to discover, pursue and achieve maximum independence in their community.”
Partnership with Families
The organization also works in partnership with families. Children are not removed from the family environment, but instead are present with and supporting parents in assisting their own children in natural environments and situations. This could be in the home, at daycares, babysitters or grandparents’ homes.
“We’ve even been to restaurants, swimming pools and horseback riding,” says Lynn Rupert, a certified physical therapist who works with the organization. “It’s about meeting them where they are and helping the child learn through play. We look at how we can embed things into their daily routines to help achieve whatever the focus is for their child. Sometimes that’s getting them to sleep better, or being able to listen to a book and identifying what’s being read about.”
“Linda and our other therapists,” says Kaup, “have been doing this for many, many years. All of them are incredible professionals. They’ll model behavior with the children. They’ll do positioning. They’ll do these activities and then encourage the parents to try using these same techniques.”
Serving Every Family in Need
Children are generally referred to the organization through physician referrals or self-referrals from parents. There’s a great deal of word of mouth throughout the community about the services they offer to families and young children, too.
“The nice thing about early intervention,” says Rupert, “is that it’s not determined by your income or your insurance or ability to pay. This is a great place because I get to see lots of kids and make sure they get the services they need without the financial strain.”
While the organization is primarily funded through county levies, cash donations like those from Mercer Savings Bank are welcome. All funds are put directly into services or equipment that benefit the children and families they serve. This could be investing in therapeutic massage services for children to improve range of motion or making investments in specialized equipment such as wheelchairs or children’s walkers.
“Continued support is always appreciated,” says Kaup, “and I don’t know if this could ever be addressed, but there’s also a big need for childcare, for families of kiddos that have special needs. Just to let mom and dad go out and have a date night, even for an hour. It’s a struggle having a kid with special needs, and it’s very straining on a marriage, on a relationship. I don’t know how to make that happen, but that would be a huge gift.”
How to Support The Mercer County Board of Developmental Disabilities for Early Childhood Intervention
The Mercer County Board of Developmental Disabilities for Early Childhood Intervention receives the majority of its funding from county levies, so the best way to support them is to vote yes for their funding! Additionally, the organization often accepts donations of puzzles, board books and specific equipment such as children’s walkers and bouncy chairs. You can find out more information about their current needs and connect with them via their Facebook page.