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Chester County's Early Intervention
for Infants and Toddlers
continued from page 9
"EI for birth to age three is not a therapy model.
It's designed to coach and empower parents, to support
the interaction in the home, and help parents feel more
confident in supporting their child's development. So a
physical therapist, for example, won't just go in to work
with the child while the mom is in the other room. The
therapist interacts and coaches the mom to interact with
the child," Gallagher said.
Lea Quinn explained the coaching model through an
early experience with Aiden's physical therapy. "He didn't
like putting weight on his arms and wasn't pulling himself
up at all, but the physical therapist gave us simple things
to work on," Quinn said. "It was hard sometimes, and
he would cry, but we took it a step at a time, putting on
some pressure, using textures and his senses. It was a logical
progression, little steps. We've definitely seen progress."
Just shy of his first birthday, Aiden continues to make
strides. "I'll now say to him, 'Aiden, do your push-ups', and
he'll start lifting himself up on his arms. The next challenge
will be to push up to sit up," Quinn said. "We have a good
relationship with our service coordinator. She asks what we
want to work on. It's a partnership."
Chester County Infant/Toddler EI receives about 30
referrals each week, and has approximately 1,500 families
in the system each year. Most are referred by their doctors,
but parents and caregivers contact EI when they notice
their child is not making developmental milestones such as
sitting unassisted, pulling to a standing position, saying first
words or not behaving in a way they would expect.
"Parents know their child best," Gallagher said. "We
know that every child develops and learns at his or her own
pace, but if parents have concerns about their infant or
toddler, they should call us."
After almost a year using EI Services, Quinn has
encouraging words for other parents who have a child with
developmental disabilities or delays. "I say to start early and
ask questions. And to stick with it. I expected it to be hard,
and it is hard, but we have this support team now, and
Aiden has made a lot of progress," she said.
10 CHESTER COUNT Y Medicine | SPRING 2019


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