How Does Early ACCESS Work?
Will people be coming into our home? If so, who will they be?
Children learn best with people they know and in the places they spend most of their time. Early ACCESS professionals help families build on the things they do every day to support their child’s learning and development in order. Toward that end, Heartland AEA employs physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, social workers, home intervention teachers, nurse consultants and other professionals who work side-by-side with children and families in their homes or the places where their children spend most of their time.
How do caregivers learn to support a child’s growth?
Early ACCESS service providers get to know a family’s daily activities, priorities and hopes for their child. Together, service providers and caregivers plan and practice interventions that can be used throughout the day in routines and activities that the family already does.
Does this work? I am not a trained therapist or teacher.
Yes. Service providers do not expect caregivers to do what they do. They support families by coaching them to help their child grow and learn. Everyday routines and activities are teaching and learning opportunities. The more children are able to practice skills, the more they are being supported in development.
What are everyday routines and activities?
Routines are activities we do so much that we may not have to think about what we are doing to complete them. For example, changing diapers, getting a snack, getting the mail or picking up toys are all routines. Inviting children to assist with routines and activities is a way to help them learn and grow. Routines are predictable so we know what is coming next. Other activities that may not be done as often as routines can be helpful for children, too. For example, watering flowers, playing peek-a-boo, dropping brothers and sisters off at school or feeding the dog can all be good teaching and learning activities.
What happens if I don’t have time? Do I have to have a schedule?
There is no need for a special time or schedule. Children learn throughout the day when they are part of activities and routines, such as snack time, bath time, getting dressed and going in the car. Service providers work with caregivers to find ways to embed learning into these activities.