Birth-to-Three Early Intervention
Because infants and toddlers learn primarily through sight, any degree of vision loss can affect their development. Not able to learn by imitation and mimicry, an infant with vision loss starts out life at a disadvantage. To address this need, our Birth-to-Three Early Intervention Program provides home-based developmental and family support to infants and toddlers with vision loss or multiple disabilities.
Early intervention specialists visit families on a frequent basis, supporting parents to prepare their children for preschool and beyond. Services include visual, developmental and occupational therapy, as well as optometric examinations through our Low Vision Clinic, social work and psychological services.
In addition to helping children reach developmental milestones, The Chicago Lighthouse’s Birth-to-Three Program prepares parents, many of whom may be encountering disability for the first time, for a lifetime of support and advocacy. Working with American Printing House’s FamilyConnect, we offer regular virtual support groups through which parents can learn from each other about the joys, challenges, and adventures of raising children with visual impairments and blindness. Facilitated by APH’s FamilyConnect and Lighthouse staff including Program Director Marla Garstka, M.A., and staff psychologist Dr. Michael Smith, these virtual sessions help parents:
- Develop strategies to support their children through their diagnosis
- Receive support from other parents who share their experiences
- Address parenting challenges in a positive way
In addition, we offer access to social activities and conferences presented by the Illinois Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments to further help families build support and resource networks.
My husband and I were an emotional wreck when finding out about my son’s eye condition when he was just a few months old. His teacher made us feel comfortable and confident as he grew. He’s going to be three in March and doing things as a normal child should be. We are very satisfied with the services given to us and are eternally grateful.
Catherine & Michael Johns, Client Family of Birth-to-Three Early Intervention Program
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