Kindering Center Programs
Therapies offered through our Early Intervention Program include physical therapy to help children reach motor milestones such as sitting and walking independently; occupational therapy to develop fine motor skills through activities like drawing and stacking blocks; speech therapy to increase communication skills including spoken or sign language and picture exchange; and oral motor therapy to evaluate and treat nutritional and feeding difficulties using oral exercises and eating practice.
Our Early Intervention Program provides a range of special education services including infant-parent playgroups, toddler-parent playgroups, and preschool classes with typically developing role models; one class includes an all Spanish-speaking staff. Each class follows a set schedule of activities that includes movement and pretend play, art, snack, and circle time with stories and songs. Activities encourage experimentation, discovery, and social interaction in a safe, supportive environment.
Kindering's Family Therapy Programs include individual, couples, and family counseling; support groups for current, alumnae, and Spanish speaking mothers; an eight-week curriculum for couples coping with grief; the Sibling Support Project and Sib Shops to support brothers and sisters of people with special needs nationwide; and the Washington State Fathers Network which operates programs for dads of children with special needs in King County and Washington State.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Of the children enrolled in Kindering’s Early Intervention program last year 71% succeeded in narrowing the knowledge and skill gap between their abilities and those of their typically developing peers. Even more impressive, a total of 153 children exited with age-appropriate skills in every areas of development – they no longer needed or qualified for developmental therapies or special education. Kindering’s services reduce the need for special education and, in the process, produce huge cost savings. The Center for Special Education Finance determined that it costs, on average, an additional $6,000/year per student to provide special education services. The 153 children who graduated with age-appropriate skills will save our school districts $1.8 million in just the 2 years they would have been in district preschool special education programs.
Kindering has experienced significant financial challenges from the recession. As the result of the economic downturn our government funding has flat-lined over the last few years. At the same time there has been a steep rise in the number of children coming to us for help. This past year 1,729 children received services through our Early Intervention Program – the highest number of children we’ve ever served and a 60% increase from the number of children served just five years ago. While the number of families coming to us continues to surge, we are also working with a population whose needs are increasingly more complex due to increases in premature births, more young children being diagnosed with Autism and a boom in immigrant and refugee families who now call East King County home.