My son, JJ, was at Brigham and Women’s Hospital for the first two months of his life until he was admitted to Boston Children’s Hospital for open heart surgery. He stayed in Children’s Hospital for another 2.5 weeks after surgery. It was when we finally got him home that we were introduced to Early Intervention
My first initial thoughts were that we didn’t really need Early Intervention as I was just focusing on keeping my son healthy and constantly monitoring his breathing (had a handful of blue spells in NICU as well as being on oxygen) and eating (at that point he was 100% feeding tube).
Before JJ was born, we had a meeting with Genetics that basically prepped us saying that our son had basically a 99.9% chance of having Down Syndrome. However, before I could even digest what that really meant, we were rushed into meeting cardiac doctors and surgeons discussing scary heart surgery procedures.
Once my son’s heart surgery was successfully completed; that was really the first time that I considered what kind of services JJ would need. First off was working on his low muscle tone which OT and PT helped us with and gave us very helpful tips that we could implement at home. OT also helped us with feeding therapies as he had significant difficulties with feeding starting with aspiration and then unsophisticated swallow along with aversion to feeding. In the last six months or so, we have also added in a developmental specialist who has helped JJ with communicating by using signs, practicing on consonant sounds and using pictures to communicate what he wants (helping to avoid behavioral issues and being frustrated). He is also seeing the music therapist who also helps with speech as we have discovered that music is his motivation.
Currently JJ is almost 2.5 years and is showing such amazing progress with the help of his therapists. He is constantly showing people that his extra chromosome makes him extra special (nothing Down about this boy)! He is so close to walking (standing unassisted longer and longer as well as taking a couple unassisted steps), working to develop tolerance to dissolvable food (kissing, licking and biting crackers/veggie straws and biting on savory foods in a mesh feeder), working to be on the feeding tube less, and signing/talking up a storm (trying to keep up with his big sister).
Thank you so much Professional Center for Child Development Early Intervention for providing the support that we didn’t even know we needed!
Our son Drew is a student at the PCCD Developmental Day School. Drew is a cute and lovable 6 year old. He has a rare genetic disorder called GRIN2A. Drew also is challenged with epilepsy, as well as visual, physical and intellectual impairments.
Like most families, we searched for the perfect school for Drew. We knew he would “age out” of the Early Intervention program (EI) at age three, and we were worried about finding a school where he would be able to continue receiving all the therapies provided in EI. Additionally, we wanted to ensure there was a safe and supportive environment with a loving staff to care for Drew.
Lucky for us, we found The Professional Center for Child Development! After attending an open house, we knew this was the place for Drew. He has an amazing team of teachers, nurses, and therapists who provide him with a quality education.
Now in his third year at this extraordinary school Drew is doing things beyond our dreams. He has cooking and art classes and does science experiments with the other students. He comes home with paint on his hands (just like our older son Dominic did at his age). His teachers and therapists use switch adapted toys to allow Drew the opportunity to play and learn as independent as possible. Drew is also learning how to communicate his needs through looks and expressions. When I ask him “did the therapy dog “Sunday” visit you and your friends today”… Drew smiles and we know he had a special day at school.
We had never felt at ease leaving Drew, but now feel a sense of comfort knowing that each day he is at school Drew is getting love, care, and the tools he needs to help him succeed.
Maggie started in the Two-by-Two program (Toddler Playgroup) at The Professional Center for Child Development in February of 2016, a few days after she turned two. Our family learned about The Professional Center through Maggie’s cousins, Declan and Brian. Both boys absolutely loved going to The Professional Center, and their parents only had amazing things to say about the program. So we were sold on it for Maggie! Lucky enough, Maggie and her cousin Brian got to attend school together for a few months, before Brian moved on to his public preschool. They got such a kick out of seeing each other at school!
This February marks one year since Maggie started as a “typically developing child” in the 2x2 play group, and we can confidently say that we know we made the right decision with this community. We have been welcomed in with open arms, and we know Maggie feels that love and compassion every single time she walks through those automatic doors. She wakes up on school days with an extra pep in her step, and swings open her classroom door to announce her arrival—excited to greet everyone and jump into the action.
Maggie comes home to tell us stories of her amazing days at school. She loves building towers, making crafts, running on the playground, and I think most of all, singing “Maggie, Maggie, jump up and down! Jump up and down!”. Maggie has grown by leaps and bounds this year, and that’s largely in part due to the talented and wonderful staff at The Professional Center. We are so grateful for all Maggie has learned, especially learning how to interact with other children her age. She’s a social child, and we are so happy that she gets to play with her peers on a regular basis.
Maggie has a sister, Lucy, who is 13 months. Lucy loves coming in to drop Maggie off at school and say hi to everyone. Now that she’s walking, she wants to dive right into the action too! Before we know it, we’ll be dropping Lucy off. (But don’t worry, we will be on time by then! ;))
As parents, it’s hard to make big decisions for your child. You want what's best for them, and you second guess yourself all the time. But funny enough, we never second guessed this decision for our daughter. Maggie has loved going to The Professional Center since Day one and that has filled us with such pride. We are so grateful to be a part of this community. Thank you all for the hard work and dedication you bring to school every single day. It does not go unnoticed.
Jada Carlson, M.Ed.
Jada Carlson is an Early Education and Care Instructor at Methuen High School. She previously worked as an Early Intervention Specialist at the Professional Center for Child Development and with the Massachusetts Early Intervention Parent Leadership Project.
become so much more. I learned about child development from speech, physical and occupational therapists. I developed relationships with so many special families over the years....
I entered the world of Early Intervention as a professional back in 1996 shortly after graduating from college. I was hired as a developmental educator, but the role grew to
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Within the first week home, we were introduced to an Early Intervention team from the Professional Center for Child Development....
It was November 1999 and my husband Tim and I had just brought our son Kyle home after a long four month ordeal at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston. Kyle was born at 26 weeks, 1 lb. 4 oz., and it seemed like it took an eternity for him to gain the proper weight and development to be able to ever leave the hospital. We had been on an emotional rollercoaster, from the day of learning we were pregnant with twins, to losing our beloved son Taylor one month after his birth. While we were very excited and extremely fortunate to have Kyle home, we knew there was a long road ahead of us.
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and lots of health issues from low tone and Mitochondrial Disorder. He is also legally blind. He is non-verbal and communicates with vocalizations, facial expressions, eye gaze and his switches. We first met through the Northeast RCP (Regional Consultation Program) which is located at PCCD....
The Professional Center for Child Development has been part of our family since Mateo was two years old. Mateo was born healthy and began losing developmental milestones at three months of age. At five months, he was diagnosed with Infantile Spasms. Mateo has global developmental delays
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I knew I would volunteer for the Professional Center for Child Development as soon as I met the 2x3 Preschool staff. I was so nervous to start my son at school due to some of his developmental issues and I was worried if he would be accepted as is or just looked at as a trouble-maker....
I’ve always been one to volunteer, whether it’s been for the local animal shelter, library, a local non-profit or for a one-time event. I’m nurturing by nature but I really enjoy lending a hand, especially to an organization I’m passionate about.
OLIVIA & DESMOND
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and swallowing, and selective mutism. She endured a number of blue spells and choking episodes. The Professional Center therapists were there for her from before she took her first steps and her Occupational Therapist remained focused on feeding until Olivia graduated the program at 3 years old. Olivia also attended the PCCD food group and the Two-by-Two developmental play group....
The Professional Center for Child Development has been part of our family since our daughter Olivia was 3 months old. Olivia was born premature, with multiple congenital anomalies, difficulty breathing
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English was not her primary language at home. Since this was her first school experience, we were nervous about how she would adjust to school and interact with the teachers and other children. She was able to work through the transitions and routines quickly....
We first came to know about PCCD when our daughter Saidhanya was 3.5 years old and started preschool. Her preschool years will be priceless memories for all of us. From the first time we visited for a tour, we felt very welcomed.
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In July 2015, my husband, our then seven-year-old daughter, and I traveled to Xinzhou, China, in Shanxi Province to adopt our new son. He was two years and three months old when we brought him home from the orphanage where he’d lived his entire life. He had a cleft lip, which had been repaired in China when he was 15 months old; he hadn’t been allowed to learn to walk (despite the fact there was not a gosh darn thing wrong with his legs); he’d never been fed solid food and was undernourished; he didn’t speak a word of Mandarin; and throwing things was the only way he knew to play. (Note: He does have a great arm; watch out Red Sox.) Obviously, we had some obstacles to overcome, but even so, our little one had a bubbly personality, responded beautifully to love and attention, and was anxious to get to know the world outside of his crib.....