The Early Intervention/Early Childhood Education Foundation for Success
The birth of my beautiful daughter Chloe in 2003 placed our family on an incredible journey that has allowed us to become strong voices for children and families. We had no prenatal testing during my wife’s pregnancy, and we were informed shortly after Chloe’s entrance into this world that she had characteristics of Down syndrome. Genetic tests confirmed Chloe’s diagnosis, and our family was soon connected to the world of Early Intervention. When Chloe was born I was in my 19th year as a Police Officer, and the only intervention I knew of was gang and drug intervention - that would soon change! I had spent my career arresting individuals and sending them into a very expensive criminal justice system, and I soon would learn and see how investing in children early always produces a positive return for all member of the community. The savings are astronomical and the results are priceless
If Chloe had been born in 1963 (my birth year), she would have been labeled uneducable, called a mongoloid and more than likely sent to an institution for a shortened life of exclusion. Here is an excerpt from the book “You and Your Retarded Child” 2nd edition 1968 (the year I started Kindergarten): The Educable Mentally Retarded Child – “He does not begin to read until sometime between 9 and 12 years of age.” “In most cases he can learn to get along with people.” Almost 40 years later things had dramatically changed! Four weeks after Chloe’s birth we had an awesome group of Early Intervention professionals come to our home to develop an IFSP (Individualized Family Service Plan) to maximize Chloe’s skills, ABILITIES and development while ensuring our family was engaged and supported. Early Intervention is the foundation during the critical birth – 5 brain growing period when 80%+ of brain development occurs. As a person who enjoys building and wiring projects it was very clear to me how important this foundation is. A house may have the most expensive and beautiful interior, but if it is not built on a strong foundation it will collapse when the first storm arises. Wiring to a building is very easy before the walls are closed in and sealed, and it is much easier to reinforce and guide brain wiring during the period of Early Intervention than to go back into a person’s brain wiring later in life and try to repair unfixed damage.
When Chloe finished birth - age 3 Early Intervention she was extremely prepared and rooted to start preschool at her neighborhood program. Chloe was reading at age 3, and she finished preschool with a complete and solid foundation to begin Kindergarten in her neighborhood school. When Chloe started Kindergarten at age 5, the return on investment was immediate because of her school placement and lack of need for an approved private school. Chloe recently began 4th grade reading at a 4th grade level, and she truly has planted more positive seeds in 9 years than most people do in a lifetime.
The impact Early Intervention and Early Childhood Education services had on my daughter Chloe after her birth motivated, empowered and propelled me into a career in Early Intervention. I received my Masters Degree in Early Intervention from the University of Pittsburgh in 2007, and I currently serve as the Director of Community/Family Outreach for Early Intervention Specialists http://www.eiskids.com/ and also Chair the PA’s Governor’s Advisory Council for Early Intervention. Chloe has taught me that “the smallest voice can make the largest impact”, and I started this site to show her amazing ABILITIES http://chloesmessage.blogspot.com/ I have made it my mission to make sure policymakers know and see how critical the investment in Early Intervention/Early Childhood Education is, and I advocate constantly to get the truth and the facts delivered. I believe with all my heart that these early programs can place our nation on the pathway to success and prosperity, and I pray we will all one day soon prioritize and focus on the most precious, priceless resource God has given us – children!
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
In 9 years Chloe has been on the cover of a book, magazine and national journal, been featured in a TV series and several articles, and has met many policymakers (including 2 Governor's) to show the ABILITIES of a child with Down syndrome. You can read all about the seeds she has planted at http://chloesmessage.blogspot.com/