SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah. — Connecting with families involved in Summit County’s Early Childhood Intervention program during a pandemic has been an adaptive experience according to the program’s director, Jackie Swan, who has shifted therapy sessions online. The program serves children from birth to three years old who have developmental delays or disabilities. Sessions with families are currently held through video conferencing apps like FaceTime and Zoom, but therapists have paid visits to driveways in situations where families don’t have access to these technologies.
“I love my job because I can see kids make progress with everything that I am doing. I am able to solve a lot of problems for families to get their kids to be as functional and learn as many skills as possible to make them the best they can ever be in this world,” said Swan, who has worked as a pediatric occupational therapist at the county in the Early Intervention program for 25 years with two years in her current role as director. “It’s always different, always changing. No child is ever the same. There’s not a cookie-cutter approach for how to help our kiddos.”
Since the pandemic began, Swan found that parents with children in the program have been less able to access age-appropriate toys, so her department stepped in and began collecting donations for their participants.
“This is our first time we’ve been really reaching out [for donations],” Swan said. “With all the budgetary cuts from state and federal dollars, we’ve just reached out to the community to get donations, wash them off, make sure that they’re clean, and then give them to the families.”
According to Swan, a child having access to toys for their age is really impactful for them and how they continue learning and working on their development. Toys such as books, puzzles, and games for infants to age three can be dropped off in the Summit County Health Department lobby in a clear labeled bin, but larger toys such as play kitchen sets or small slides can be dropped off downstairs and left outside the Early Childhood Intervention office.
While the program is titled “Summit County Early Intervention,” it does service children in Wasatch County as well, with referrals coming mostly from doctors in the area.
For more information about this program and how to get involved, go online or call 435-333-1520.