Midwestern IU IV: Early Intervention Makes the Right Connections
A profile in the PAIU series, "Early Intervention Changes Lives:
Pennsylvania Families and the Intermediate Units that Serve Them"
Adalynne McGhee’s story: Growing leaps and bounds
Adalynne McGhee loves to color. She likes to pick up books and read, and she adores playing with her baby dolls.
Plus, the 4-year-old who could hardly speak a few words at 2 years old is now speaking full sentences. Since joining Midwestern IU IV Early Intervention when she turned 3, Adalynne has “grown leaps and bounds,” says her mother, Amanda McGhee.
Adalynne, who has also received behavioral health therapy, has conditions that affect her lungs, ears, and speech. When she was on a liquid diet for more than six months, her Early Intervention teachers would always “go with the flow,” says McGhee.
“They’re very knowledgeable,” she says. “If something’s wrong, they call. I can’t say enough about the school. Amazing.”
Now enrolled in Head Start, Adalynne continues to receive Early Intervention services. Her EI specialists go out of their way to work with Adalynne’s teachers and find any resources the family needs.
“If it wasn’t for her behavioral health therapy and IU IV, we wouldn’t be where we are,” says McGhee. “I tell everybody that. If you have a problem, you call this number. They will get you to who you need to see.”
Midwestern IU IV: A continuum of services
Midwestern IU IV Early Intervention strives for continuity, helping families easily access services as their children grow and needs change.
Key elements include:
- Multiple entries into the system. Children can come to Early Intervention through Head Start screenings, Infant/Toddler Early Intervention with guidance from a staff coordinator, or through toll-free calls to Preschool Connections, an information, referrals, and services link for families concerned about their child’s development. The sooner a child receives services, the stronger the impact, says Special Education Supervisor, Early Intervention, Dr. BethAnn Glew.
- A school social worker, to direct parents toward resources, and a parent-connection liaison, who links parents new to the system with parents already involved. “These are new waters, and having someone who can guide you through that process is really helpful,” says Glew.
- Transition to kindergarten. IU IV Early Intervention works with 27 school districts to help determine whether continued services are required and to ease children smoothly into school. “This is the beginning of their educational experience,” says Glew. “Some of them may be in school until they’re 21. You really want to make it as positive as possible because there’s a long road ahead.”
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