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    Educational and Development Intervention Services Helps Rota Families Learn Through Play

    Children learn and play at EDIS Rota

    Photo By Chief Petty Officer Nathan Carpenter | NAVAL STATION ROTA, Spain (March 21, 2021) Jeff Mullins, an early childhood special...... read more read more



    Story by Courtney Pollock 

    Naval Station Rota, Spain

    Whether you’re a first time or experienced parent, those early days and years of parenting can be difficult. The constant onslaught of concerns, doubts, and thoughts. “Is my child’s development on the right track?” “How can I best support my child?” “Does my child need specialized care?”

    These are all questions that the Educational and Development Intervention Services (EDIS) clinic at Naval Station (NAVSTA) Rota, Spain, can answer. They can also help provide specialized care to your child by assisting you to find the best ways to support your child’s growth.

    “Most brain development, actually 90%, occurs within the first three years of life,” said Jeff Mullins, early childhood special educator at EDIS. “All of the brain’s pathways and everything that’s happening during that time, it is more flexible – more changeable – at that time. The sooner you start working with a child, the more long lasting impact you’ll have.”

    Early intervention during these highly dynamic, pliable years can have a ripple impact for a child’s life. Catching and addressing potential developmental challenges early can give the child the opportunity to gain the skills to hit milestones in conjunction with his or her peers. EDIS provides services to young children and their families ranging from early childhood development to occupational, physical and speech therapy.
    “With the services of EDIS, family and children are able to develop those early habits of choosing activities that will help their brain development or physical development,” said Nate Peterson, physical therapist for EDIS. “The earlier that foundation is established, the earlier they can build upon it as they grow.”

    Helping children learn the skills to succeed is what drives the staff at EDIS. By working within the family's daily routine activities, the staff support both parent and child together so they can learn those skills.

    “It’s so gratifying when we can facilitate growth,” said Kelley Hermann, occupational therapist at EDIS. “However it’s triple gratifying when we teach a parent and they can elicit that skill.”

    Supporting parents and giving them the tools to support their child throughout their daily interactions provides more opportunities to practice new skills and creates the best results for the child.

    “One of the unique opportunities for early intervention is being able to go into the home and support the parents,” said Jessica Kavanaugh, speech therapist for EDIS. “Parents know their kids best, and can teach or work on strategies to help them implement those changes.”

    This family-centered approach is reinforced by providing services in what is considered a natural environment for the child. Therefore, most EDIS sessions take place in the home, at playgrounds or libraries, or at the Child Development Center (CDC) if both parents work.

    Hermann points out that holding the session in a familiar environment not only benefits the child, but the family.

    “When they’re in their most natural environments, parents learn best as well and they can replicate what you’re teaching them,” she said. “Parents are the natural teachers. Even though we’re the experts, we teach them (the parents) to be their child’s teacher.”

    This teaching approach continues from child and parent to their coworkers. EDIS utilizes the primary service provider model for providing services to the child and their family. Simply put, this means one of the specialists will take the lead for the family.

    “It’s designed that one primary provider acts as the conduit for all information so that everything passes through that person so the family is getting a unified message,” said Mullins.

    For the family to receive that unified message it means that EDIS staff have to be in constant communication and sync with each other. That is made easier here in Rota with each of the team members saying that they work well in providing cohesive plans for the child and family.

    “I think we all work well together because we’re all open to hearing the ideas and perspectives from another provider,” said Kavanaugh. “We’re open to learning other’s perspectives as a professional, and we all truly care about helping the child and family.”

    This emphasis on helping the child and family is reiterated multiple times by numerous staff members. The idea of keeping the child and their development as the focus, providing the child with the best care, and supporting the family is clear.

    “It the hardest job any of us will ever do,” said Mullins. “I have such a deep respect for the work all parents are doing … especially since many are doing it on their own when their spouse is deployed.”

    While parenting can be stressful, trying, and difficult, perhaps it doesn’t need to be, with the help of EDIS. Whether your issues are large or small, you can stop by for even the simplest of reasons. As Peterson puts out. “We’re here because we like to help kids and their families.”

    EDIS is a free, federally-mandated children’s program that is voluntary for all families of NAVSTA Rota. The department falls under U.S. Naval Hospital Rota, Spain, and works in tandem with medical professionals from pediatrics and audiology. Primary care providers may refer a child to the program or a parent can do a self-referral. The program requires a screening and evaluation prior to enrollment. Stop by the EDIS clinic for information on child development and milestones, services, and more. EDIS is located in base housing in Bldg. 1741, near Housing Self-Help. Their office can be reached at DSN 727-4029 or commercial, +34 956-82-4029.



    Date Taken: 04.07.2022
    Date Posted: 04.07.2022 04:08
    Story ID: 418004
    Location: ES

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