Kids grow up fast, don’t they? At age three, your child will have completed their early intervention program at LifeROOTS and is ready to take the next steps in their early education. If your child needs continued support as they move into preschool, it is important that you plan ahead so the transition is smooth. Here are 5 things to keep in mind as your family gets ready to graduate from EI.
- Attend transition meetings. Your LifeROOTS EI team will be preparing you and your child for the transition into preschool months before their third birthday, but at least one formal transition meeting should be held just before your child’s completion of the program. Meet with potential preschool teachers and other staff to discuss how your child’s disability will be supported throughout the coming school year and beyond. Some parents find it helpful to bring a support team to these transition meetings, including a family member, a close friend, or a representative from LifeRoots.
- Consider flexible programs and schedules. Children with developmental disabilities may not be ready for the same preschool experience as other children. Speak with staff members to discuss how much time your child will spend in school each day. For some children, a combination of classroom and home-based support is most effective.
- Communication is key. Staying updated on your child’s progress in school is essential to their long-term success. Request weekly or monthly written information or follow-up phone calls from school staff to maintain an open dialogue.
- Join a parent support group. Parents often benefit from getting together and sharing their experiences. Search for support groups in your area, or start one yourself. Childcare, carpooling, transportation, and snacks usually helps with attendance, and might give families some much needed resources.
- Think of preschool itself as the transition period. For most parents, sending their child to school for the first time is an emotional experience. For the parents of a child with special needs, these emotions might be magnified. Picture preschool as a transition between EI and grade school where you get the best of both worlds: family-focused support services, with all the experiences early education program.
Some children may benefit from receiving additional therapy services after the Early Intervention program officially ends at age 3, in conjunction with their transition into preschool — and beyond. At LifeROOTS, we are excited that we are now able to offer extended therapy services to children after their Early Intervention program ends, with children up to age 18 now able to receive additional physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy services through Medicaid-Centennial Care. LifeROOTS is the only agency in the region currently offering these therapies to this expanded age group – addressing the needs of children who can continue to benefit from therapy after Early Intervention services end, and/or who may not be receiving the therapies they need from other sources.
LifeROOTS is here to support your family through every stage of life – including the critical early years which are so vital in a child’s overall development. The benefits of our Early Intervention services can truly be life-changing for a young child – and when you’re ready to send your child off to preschool, speak with an EI specialist to get the perfect transition plan in place. Click here for more information on additional adaptive programs.