90% of brain development occurs before the age of six while the first three years of life are an extraordinary growth period across all domains of development — physical, social, emotional, linguistic and intellectual. Thus, we at BEST know that early intervention services for children with visual impairments and blindness are absolutely crucial to ensure the BEST start in life.
Our BEST Start program offers in-home service based on:
- Natural Environment – we believe that one of the most effective ways to work with our families is in the child’s natural environment. The home is where learning first begins and where the child and family are most familiar, most comfortable and spend most of their time. Home visits allow us to show our families ways that everyday objects in their own home can be used as learning tools for their child, and how small adjustments or adaptations at home can help their child navigate independently and safely.
- Parent Education and Empowerment – we believe that parents and families are a child’s first and most important teachers. We strive to empower parents by providing them the tools, techniques, confidence and resources that allow both them and their child to reach their BEST potential. Our philosophy is truly family-focused — we know that when our families are armed with the information they need and feel supported, the same will be true for their child. We know from firsthand experience how scary it can be to find out that your child has a visual impairment. We strive to ease those fears by showing our families how their child will learn, progress and thrive in a sighted world.
- Specialized Team – We believe that children who have visual impairments or blindness require specialized, experienced professionals who understand how VI children learn and what tools are necessary to ensure they are meeting their highest potential. We only hire teachers and interventionists who are cross-trained in early childhood, special education and working with visual impairment. We also understand that training is not enough – it takes a special person who understands how to connect, advocate for and think innovatively for the sake of our families. We set high expectations for anyone on our team to ensure the BEST outcomes for our children.
- Informed Assessments – BEST’s trained staff of professionals conduct learning media assessments, functional vision assessments, and orientation & mobility assessments to set developmental and educational goals, measure progress, and determine the most appropriate tools or assistive devices needed if applicable.