Meeting to focus on children

Laurel Street School brings more than needs to the table

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— Jelly bean-covered foam balls atop flower pots made by Laurel Street School children will sit on luncheon tables at the third annual Early Childhood Intervention Awareness Day.

In celebration and recognition of Month of the Young Child, representatives of Steamboat's Horizons will travel to Denver Wednesday for the event.

A Horizons board member, a service coordinator and a mother of a Down's Syndrome child will hear Colorado Rockies Manager Buddy Bell speak of his personal experiences volunteering his time with children.

The morning will offer a media event at The Children's Hospital before educational programs for parents and service providers are offered.

Collaborating on the education and awareness of children's needs and abilities, The Children's Hospital, the Colorado Association of Community Centered Boards and Colorado First Lady Frances Owens continue to promote the value of resources available for young children who are at risk of developmental delays and disabilities.

Amy Ibarra, director of service coordination at Horizons, said the day is filled with discussions of needs and progress.

"It's a feel-good kind of day. Not only are we talking about needs, they're also looking at the progress that's been made," Ibarra said.

The first year of the intervention awareness day, Ibarra said about 10 representatives from Routt County will attend the luncheon.

However, having younger children affected with developmental delays or disabilities, many parents cannot get away from those special needs.

According to the Early Childhood Connection, Part C of the federal legislation that created special education in schools in Colorado, 2 percent of children up to 3 years of age have significant developmental conditions or delays.

Ibarra said that number is higher in Routt County.

Studies from Early Childhood Connection state that the critical window for visual skill developments is birth to six months and the critical window of opportunity for speech development is in the first three years of life.

Ibarra said it's important that Routt County is represented at the luncheon because last year 18 children received early childhood intervention.

This could mean a child received physical, occupational or speech therapy, behavioral or financial support, transportation, service coordination or respite care.

Respite care gives parents a small break from the daily stresses of dealing with developmentally delayed or disabled persons.

"The biggest (meaning) to practitioners and parents is intervening early, at an early age, and preventing further developmental delay," Ibarra said. "Also, the funding to provide service is primarily from the state Legislature."

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