The Capital Area Intermediate Unit Early Intervention Preschool Program provides a wide array of programs and services for children from their third birthday until entry into school. Services for children during the preschool years are provided without cost to their families when the child is determined to meet eligibility requirements. IEPs are written to define services, including related services as appropriate.
Screening and Assessment
Screening and Assessment services are available in order to determine the eligibility for early intervention services. Assessment services include developmental testing, audiological testing, deaf and hard of hearing assessment, speech and language evaluation, occupational and physical therapy evaluation, vision screening and psychological/psychiatric assessment. Assessment information also includes informal evaluation. Informal evaluation uses play observation, nursery school/day care observation reporting, and an intake which allows parents to provide information about the child's medical and developmental history along with current developmental strengths and areas of concern. An Evaluation Report is written as an outcome of assessment.
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Support in Early Childhood Environments
Itinerant education is provided in order to offer educational and developmental support to eligible children enrolled in preschool and day-care programs. An Inclusion Consultant is available to the eligible child's parents and teachers to provide information to support appropriate developmental activities in the home and school setting. The Consultant facilitates development and implementation of the IEP. The Consultant models appropriate teaching methods and advises family and staff on the adaptation of instructional materials and equipment.
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Specialized classrooms are available for those preschoolers who need a small-group setting with support from the classroom teacher, educational paraprofessional, and speech and occupational/physical therapists.
An Early Childhood Teacher and the related services team provide educational services in a developmentally appropriate setting. Classroom size is up to eight children with a teacher and paraprofessional. IEP goals and objectives are implemented. Parents are part of the IEP team.
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Eligible children can receive a variety of therapies in order to improve or enhance their development. Therapies may include speech and language, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and play therapy. The amount and duration of these services is determined in the Individualized Education Program (IEP).
Speech/Language Therapy: Based on the individualized needs of the child as identified within the child’s IEP, speech/language services are offered through a variety of service delivery models by a Speech/Language Pathologist (SLP). Examples include:
- Consultative services: The SLP consults with early intervention personnel to assist them in implementing specially designed instruction related to speech/language development.
- Indirect fluency model: This model contains both a parent fluency group training component and a child/parent/clinician intervention. The SLP provides information for parents in a group format regarding dysfluent behaviors and strategies for parent use at home. The SLP works directly with the parent and child to model fluency facilitating strategies and offer suggestions to parents on techniques implemented since the previous parent fluency training.
- Language group: This model provides opportunities for generalization of communication skills within activities associated with a preschooler’s daily routine; i.e. snack, craft, play, story, etc. A SLP and educational paraprofessional staff each language group.
- Articulation group: This service delivery model consists of a maximum of six children who are identified with articulation/intelligibility issues. Articulation and discrimination skills are targeted within each activity of the session; i.e. snack, story, play, etc. A SLP and educational paraprofessional staff this group.
- Pragmatics group: A SLP, occupational therapist, and educational paraprofessional staff this model. Children whose needs center on social-communication interactions participate in this group. Both three-year-old and four-year-old pragmatics groups are available to address social-communication needs related to each age range.
- Small group instruction: The SLP provides therapy in a small group consisting of two children. Opportunities to participate with a peer(s) in practicing speech/language targets are integral to this model.
- Individual speech/language instruction: The SLP provides direct one-on-one therapy in pull-out sessions and /or within a specialized preschool setting or typical early childhood environment.
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Community and Agency Partnerships
EIC (Early Intervention Connections) is a local council which meets quarterly at the CAIU Summerdale Office Center. It is comprised of parents, providers and professionals with a commitment to providing services and resources to children (from birth to school age) and families in the early intervention community. Family events and trainings are provided throughout the year. All are welcome to attend. Please contact the Preschool supervisor for information.
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Early Language Parent Training
The Early Language Parent Training Program is one program in two parts. The two modules focus on teaching parents the skills to take the role as the primary language facilitator in their child's life. Module I trains parents to use daily interactions to enhance the development of their child's communication skills. Module II trains parents to plan specific play activities that focus on developing their child's language skills.
The training program incorporates the use of parent group sessions, home visitations, and videotaping. The parent group sessions allow for the exchange of information, as well as provide a supportive environment for families to share experiences. Individualization of information from the group sessions occurs during the home visitations and strategies.
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Transition to School Age Programming
Children who are eligible to transition to school age programming and their families are provided with a seamless process to their local school district or charter school. The process begins one year prior to eligibility to ensure that families and school districts can plan for educational programming. Individual meetings are held with school districts prior to the end of February. A Transition Plan is included in the child’s IEP to prepare for school age programming through collaboration with the family, school district and the CAIU Preschool Early Intervention Program and/or contracted agencies.
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