Early Intervention Program Supports Young Children with Special Needs

Tara and Jeromy Plagenza learned at birth that their daughter Gredel had Down Syndrome. “As anyone can imagine, it was a time of confusion,” said Tara. “Our family wanted to know as much as possible about what we could do as her advocates to make sure she had all the opportunities to thrive in every way.” 

The Plagenzas contacted SCOE’s Early Intervention program hoping it would be a place they could learn about support opportunities. “Early Intervention is a game changer.  From six weeks of age, Gredel has been involved with kind, energetic people who are experts in their field,” said Tara. “Our family teacher provided support for every aspect of her development.  At any point in our daughter's growth, if we need extra support from a different specialist, we are given proper helpful information to seek that aid.”

As parents of a child with special needs, Tara and Jeromy said they have an inherent desire for people to understand that their daughter's potential is not less, though it may be different.  “The people involved with the Early Intervention program facilitate that need,” said Tara. “All staff shares the same desire - to support special kids and their families to successfully reach their full skills and abilities.”

In 2013, Early Intervention staff moved to their new site (John F. Kennedy School was remodeled for Margaret L. Annear).  According to Saundra Day, who served as Principal of MLA from 2011 - 2016, the new school site has allowed for a more cohesive, inclusive, and typical school experience. “From the common hallway to greet students and families, to the newly founded school events such as Open House Preschool Graduation and Spirit Day Fridays, the new school site has allowed many more opportunities for the program to live by SCOE’s Special Education Division’s motto of ‘Building Bridges,” she said.  “Connection is everything - without bridges, the best built roads lead nowhere. Together, Margaret L. Annear staff and families are preparing  children for a successful transition to Kindergarten and beyond.”