In July, Chan Soon-Shiong Medical Center at Windber began offering Early Intervention services to provide support to families with children from birth to age three who have developmental delays and disabilities. A qualified provider delivers physical therapy services to patients for free in their home or a community location, such as a park, library, grocery store, or playground.
CSSMCW Early Intervention providers focus on building skills that typically develop during the first three years of life, such as physical (reaching, rolling, crawling, and walking), cognitive (thinking, learning, solving problems), communication (talking, listening, understanding), social/emotional (playing, feeling secure and happy), and self-help (eating, dressing).
The program is led by Physical Therapist Tonya McCool who has a passion for helping children build a strong gross motor skills foundation so that they can grow up to be as independent as possible and reach every desired goal. Currently, the hospital offers early intervention physical therapy services, with the ability to add additional providers as the program continues to grow and develop (for instance, speech and occupational therapies).
Starting this program now offers families the choice to select CSSMCW therapists from birth to 21 years of age, thus reducing the difficulties of transitions between providers once children age out of early intervention at three years of age.
McCool said, “At CSSMCW we realize that changes can be hard, especially when children develop a relationship with a provider after receiving services for so long. When the transition at age three occurs, this often requires families to change to all new providers and settings, which can lead to a gap in services provided or missed opportunities for goal achievement until rapport is established with a new provider. With a more seamless transition, we can avoid some of these difficulties and continue working on children’s goals without delays.”
Families who think they may need early intervention services for their child may call CSSMCW at 814-467-3893 to speak to an Early Intervention secretary or therapist about their needs and concerns. Families may also call the county in which they reside (Bedford 814-623-5166, Cambria 814-535-8531, Somerset 814-443-4891) to make a self-referral for a free evaluation provided by the county to determine eligibility for early intervention services.
Pictured above: Physical Therapist Tonya McCool works with pediatric patient Lincoln Alexander.
About Chan Soon-Shiong Medical Center at Windber
Founded in 1906, Chan Soon-Shiong Medical Center at Windber (CSSMCW) is an independent, non-profit acute care hospital in northern Somerset County, bordering Cambria County. The 54-bed hospital shares a campus and collaborates with Chan Soon-Shiong Institute of Molecular Medicine at Windber (CSSIMMW), a private, non-profit biomedical research center. With more than 450 employees, CSSMCW is the fourth largest employer in Somerset County. CSSMCW’s mission is to provide excellence in personalized, quality health care services through innovation, research and education in response to community needs. For more information visit www.windbercare.org.