When Catie and Joshua Metzler welcomed their daughter, Georgia, into the world, they were excited to add another beautiful daughter to their family. It wasn’t until months later that the couple noticed some delays in Georgia’s growth.
“It is never easy to find out that your child has some delays, but we have had great support and see such progress in Georgia since Shelley has been working with her,” said Catie Metzler of her daughter.
Georgia was born with significant motor delays as a result of a genetic deletion. Changes that affect the structure of chromosomes can cause problems with growth, development, and function of the body’s systems.
“Georgia was not sitting well or bearing weight,” said Shelley Clifford, Early Intervention Specialist with the Scioto County Board of Developmental Disabilities (SCBDD). “Since November of 2011, she has really progressed and is now sitting, crawling, walking and her play skills are greatly improved.”
Clifford said the Metzlers worked with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital on diagnosis and instruction for care. When they learned of the programs available close to home, they were referred to Early Intervention at the SCBDD Carousel Center to find out more about the program. Early intervention is a program that provides specialized services; parent education and support to children, ages birth to three years old, and their families. The program is funded by the Scioto County Board of Developmental Disabilities. There is no cost to the family and there are no income guidelines or restrictions for the program.
“Too many times, I think people overlook the programs offered by Scioto County DD, because they think you have to be a certain income level, but that isn’t the case,” said Metzler. “We have received so much help from Shelley and have seen so much improvement in Georgia, we are grateful these programs exist.”
Clifford makes visits to the Metzler’s home once a week. Working with children in their home environment not only allows them to be comfortable, but also allows parents to be involved using their surroundings as tools. She is one of four Early Intervention specialists who work with families throughout the county.
“Catie is right there with me when we are working with Georgia and she takes what we learn during that time and continues to use it when I’m gone. That makes the learning on-going,” said Clifford. “The progress we have seen with Georgia has been remarkable and she still continues to grow and learn.”
Because Georgia has struggled with talking, Clifford has taught her sign language as a bridge to language.
“To see a two-year-old use sign language is just exciting. But we always pair that with saying the word when she uses the sign. She is already making connections and starting to vocalize,” Clifford said.
Clifford also uses pictures to help bridge Georgia’s learning and expand her interaction with others.
“She is quickly learning that when she wants something, she either signs what she wants or points to a picture,” said Metzler. “And when my son is here with her, she is very vocal and uses her voice more. It has just been amazing.”
The team at the Carousel Center has trained with the HELP Curriculum, Play to Talk/Responsive teaching approach, sensory integration theories and strategies, signing, VIISA, SKI*HI and the INSITE model. These dedicated individuals are certified by the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities.
“They have truly helped make progress with my daughter and have been there any time I needed them. We are blessed to have programs like this in our community,” Metzler said.
“We all care very much about the children and families in this community and work with a variety of agencies to provide a high quality, family-centered practice,” Clifford said.
For more information on opportunities available for individuals with developmental disabilities, visit us on the web at HYPERLINK “http://www.sciotodd.org” www.sciotodd.org, like us on Facebook at Scioto County Board of DD or follow us on Twitter @SciotoDD.
Source: Scioto County Board of Developmental Disabilities