The Stepping Stones Early Intervention Program, located in Livingston, NJ, provides services to babies and children ages birth to three through a center based model.  During class sessions, groups are facilitated by physical, occupational and speech therapists who provide information on development as well as teach parents specific techniques to facilitate each child’s development. 

During the past thirty years of providing center based supports, parents have expressed the benefits of a center based program.  The following are some of their voices:
                                   
Parent groups led by an LCSW provide parents with the necessary information and knowledge needed to be the most effective advocates for their child

At the Stepping Stones Early Intervention Program, parents are afforded the opportunity to attend parent support groups where the emphasis is on what you need as a parent of a child with Down syndrome.  This could mean that the group could have a presentation from a doctor, an open and safe discussion on the issues and struggles you face by having a child with Down syndrome, learning the education laws, and/or just casual talking.  In addition, parents learn how to communicate their child’s needs so that when in situations where stressful and sometimes emotional conversations can lead to an adversarial relationship with a provider, you as the parent are taught how to effectively communicate the issues and needs so that the most effective and positive outcome is possible. 

Parents feel connected and supported by other parents who also have a child with Down syndrome:

Individual therapy sessions are an option for families through the federal/state funded model of early intervention.  These individualized sessions are provided in the natural therapeutic setting (most likely your home).  Families often prefer the convenience of the home based therapy model of services.  However, families who have come through the Stepping Stones center based model have discussed feeling isolated from other parents and professionals when receiving the federal/state funded early intervention services.    As a result, parents feel they lose out on learning invaluable information sharing and support while receiving these federal/state funded early intervention services. 

In addition, by attending the center based model, parents as well as the children, have developed relationships that have evolved into life long bonds.

Parents receive information from the therapy staff that is designed to be integrated into the daily routine of the child and family at home.

You spend the majority of time with your child each day.  As the parent you have a significant impact in the way you hold your child, the way you can help them sit, crawl, walk, eat and talk.  Being a part of a center based model you are taught the techniques and approaches that the therapists have devised that best work for your child.  You in turn are taught these techniques to carry over at home.

Most importantly – this is a chance for your child to have fun and socialize while simultaneously receiving therapy

Many bonds have been formed with the children who have participated in this center based opportunity.  Parents love that their child is socializing while learning.

Siblings have an opportunity to socialize, bond, and have fun during each session that the program is in operation

During each session the program offers a sibling component.  Parents have found the sibling group to be a great asset for their family unit as a whole.               
                                     
Learn more about the benefits of a center based program by visiting The Stepping Stones Early Intervention Program by calling Judy Bellina at 973-535-1181 ext. 1223.