EARLY LEARNING PROGRAM

For families of young children with special needs

The Early Learning program offers training and education for parents of young children ages 0-6 with developmental or intellectual disabilities. In addition to receiving family support through our Family Support Specialists (see Parent Resource Center tab), families enrolled in the Early Learning program receive classroom-based education on topics relevant to the age of their children. Past topics have included Positive Behavior Support, child development, and IEPs and special education.

Parents enrolled in the program also participate in Play and Learn sessions. These interactive, hands-on sessions involve both parent and child as they have time for unstructured play, sing songs, play games, and read stories together. Parents learn to play with their children with special needs, and the children bond with their parent and play—which is how children learn! Sessions are culturally-specific, meaning that the songs, games, and stories are from the families’ own language and culture.

The first ASQ Screening and Outreach event

Open Doors Early Learning Program Staff went to this year’s Vietnamese New Year celebration at the Seattle Center. This is an annual event celebrating Lunar New Year for the Vietnamese community where families come together to celebrate their culture, have food and just enjoy spending time together. It was a great opportunity for us to raise awareness about developmental milestones and just to celebrate parents doing all that they do for their children. We invited parents and caregivers to take a 5-10 minute questionnaire so they can see their own child’s development and gave their kids some books and developmentally appropriate toys.

The Woven Together Project’s Parent Advisory Committee Celebration

We had 6 Somali and 6 Vietnamese parents participate in advising The Woven Together Project. The Woven Together Project is a partnership between Open Doors and Children’s Therapy Center, a pediatric therapy clinic that serves children ages 0-18 years. On their own, each agency noticed gaps in services and meaningful participation for culturally and linguistically diverse families, basically the outcomes were different for our children compared to dominant, mainstream, white families. With our partnership, we are hoping to learn from each others organizations, increase engagement with Culturally and linguistically diverse families and to increase parent advocacy skills with the ultimate long term goal of better outcomes for children. We are teaching a dominant mainstream organization how to serve CLD families as well as they serve whte families.
 Over the course of a few months, families participated in meetings to help us shape a program for Vietnamese and Somali families. For it is important to make sure programs are designed by families, so we began with this advisory committee and heard about what’s challenging and successful for Somali and Vietnamese families who have young children who are currently being served by Children’s Therapy Center, Open Doors or both. We planned this celebration for families at a local play gym that is inclusive.

The Woven Together Project.

As a part of this project we are doing cross agency trainings. This was a training for Children’s therapy center Early Intervention Staff about the project and to present our learnings from the Parent Advisory Committee and the program model.

Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ 2 SE)

Some of our community partners who are also doing screening programs in King County were frustrated because when they did the screenings and identified children who needed further support, it was really difficult for them to find the appropriate programs. To hello in that effort, we did a training for them called : Disability Services 101 to cover some of the basic services families can connect to.