Friday, April 15, 2016

Director Visits Children's Therapy Center

Last week, DEL Director Ross Hunter took a tour of Children’s Therapy Center in Burien. He got an opportunity to see first-hand some of the therapies for children with disabilities, and hear about the extensive home-based early intervention services they provide. CTC serves about 3,400 children each year, providing everything from speech-language, physical, and occupational therapies to parent education and community playgroups. Many of these services are provided through DEL’s Early Support for Infants and Toddlers program (ESIT).

At a glance: Washington families served by CTC.

We know that children with disabilities or developmental delays can have a wildly improved quality of life with early intervention services. About 85 percent of a person’s brain development happens in the first three years of life – children in this stage are forming more than 700 new neural connections every second. The services delivered through ESIT are designed to enable young children to be active, independent and successful participants in a variety of settings—in their homes, in preschool programs, and in their communities.

DEL Director Ross Hunter with CTC CEO Jon Botten (left) and staff in front of a river-themed mural at CTC’s Burien center.
While the evidence is clear on what works for children who need early interventions, the system in Washington State needs to become more sophisticated and be more coordinated with the other birth to age three services available. Luckily, the Legislature passed a law this year, Senate Bill 5879, which will help DEL do just that. It gives DEL the opportunity to take a critical look at the current service delivery process and to create a more efficient and expanded system. In the end, we want to get more money going directly to services that support our state’s children.

Look out for more information on this system plan design process throughout 2016 from our ESIT team. We continue to be inspired by the work of incredible partners like Children’s Therapy Center, and we look forward to a day when every child in our state gets the high-quality care they need to live full, rich lives.

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