Proposed Cuts to Regional Programs

Publication Date: February 27, 2019 The Alliance for Early Intervention is concerned about the proposed $6.2M cut to regional programs in the Governor's Recommended Budget. Regional programs serve over 10,000 students a year in Oregon who experience disabilities such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Deafness, Blindness, Orthopedic Impairments and Traumatic Brain Injury.  There are eight regional programs providing educational supports through Education Services Districts (ESDs) across the state.  This reduction would amount to an almost 20% funding reduction to each regional program. A reduction in funding means a significant reduction in services for students with low incidence disabilities. Regional programs anticipate having to lay off staff and increase caseloads of the staff that remain. Across Oregon, this reduction is likely to result in a loss of over 40 FTE in specialized staff that includes Autism Specialists, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists and Speech Language Pathologists.  This proposed reduction would also mean that school districts and EI/ECSE programs will be responsible to fill the [...]

Oregon’s Legislative Session Ends Early!

Publication Date: March 5, 2018 The legislature ended the 2018 session Sine Die on Saturday, March 3, 2018. This is eight days ahead of the Constitutional Sine Die date of March 11. This was a short, but efficient session! The big news for Early Intervention / Early Childhood Education is the that both the House and Senate passed House Bill 4067 which will extend the developmental delay eligibility category for special education beyond preschool age up through third grade (up to age 10) to ensure children experiencing delays get the supports they need to succeed in school. House Bill 4067 is heading to the Governor's desk for her signature. To read the House Bill 4067, click this link.  Oregon will be joining 30 other states in creating stronger educational experiences for students by extending the Developmental Delay eligibility category until third grade. This will also reduce barriers for families and give educators more [...]

Oregon’s Legislative Session is Off to a Great Start

Publication Date: February 12, 2018 The Oregon Legislature has been back in session for one week, and we are happy to report that the House Early Childhood and Family Supports Committee has already heard testimony on House Bill 4067 to extend the developmental delay eligibility category for special education beyond preschool age up through third grade (up to age 10) to ensure children experiencing delays get the supports they need to succeed in school. Approximately 200 Oregon children who qualified for Early Childhood Special Education services under the developmental delay eligibility criteria will lose access to needed educational supports and fall further behind their peers. Often, children of color and children from low-income families and those experiencing poverty have delayed diagnoses. Without supports in kindergarten and beyond they face significant educational barriers to success. It is our hope that Oregon will join 30 other states in creating stronger educational experiences for students by [...]

One Family’s Success in Early Intervention: Liam

Liam is a happy three-year old who has received Early Intervention services through the Clatsop Service Center of Northwest Regional Education Service District (NWRESD) since he was five months old. The youngest of four kids, Liam and his family live in a rural, coastal part of Oregon where there has not been consistent private providers and specialists to support Liam’s developmental needs and the health challenges he experiences. Because of this, Early Intervention services have been an important and consistent part of Liam’s life and his family’s life. Through Early Intervention, Liam receives physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech and vision services in his home. Liam has built relationships with his providers, and he loves interacting and working with them. Liam’s parents are grateful for the services they can access locally. “Early Intervention has provided a lot of support to our family, and it has all been really valuable. Early Intervention [...]

Sharing Our Successes!

Huge thanks to all who participated in our Statewide Photo Rally during this legislative session. The photos and stories from across the state that were shared on our social media by families and providers brought great joy to many, and were an amazing tribute to the impact of these programs on the lives of children and families. Instead of featuring just one family story this month, we put together a slideshow of the photos and stories that were shared for you to enjoy again!

One Family’s Success in Early Intervention: Rory

When my son, Rory, was almost eighteen months, he had no intentional words, yet he could point to a letter and tell me its name. My husband and I had suspected for some time that our amazing little boy was not typical, but we held off on the doctor’s referral to Early Intervention services because we wanted to give him a little bit of time. At eighteen months, we finally took him in for an evaluation and discovered that along with the language delay we knew about, he had several other differences. Those differences would eventually be diagnosed as autism when he was two years and nine months old. Well before we knew it was autism, Early Intervention was there for us. They validated our fears, and let us know that it would be all right. Our service provider swept into our lives full of knowledge and strategies to help [...]

Advocating for Izzy

Oregon AEI would like to share a story from an Oregon mom who recently traveled to Salem to meet with her legislator for the first time. Heidi is a self-described “non-political person,” but with recent proposed budget cuts hitting the news, she felt motivated and empowered to share her family’s experience with early intervention and special education with her state senator. My name is Heidi Robinson, and my two children attend elementary school in Hillsboro. My daughter Izzy is seven, and was born with Kabuki Syndrome. She experiences intellectual and developmental disabilities as a result of this syndrome, as well as many medical issues. Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) services in our state are not meeting recommended service levels. We moved here from Arizona in January of 2015. My daughter has been receiving either Early Intervention (EI) or ECSE services in Arizona since she was three months old. When she [...]

2017 Advocacy Days are Here!

If you are reading this, it’s probably safe to assume that Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education (EI/ECSE) services have impacted your life in a positive way.  If so, your advocacy in support of these services is needed now more than ever! The 2017 Oregon legislative session starts this week, and it’s more important than ever for YOU to take action in support of the programs and services that impact your life. Our legislators want to hear from you and benefit from your experience, so write an email, make a phone call, or give testimony at a legislative hearing! As you may have heard in the news, Oregon has a $1.8 billion dollar budget shortfall that may result in further cuts to already underfunded EI/ECSE programs which have been unable to provide the levels of service that children and families need. The Co-Chairs of the Joint Committee on Ways and Means [...]

Remembering When: 2005 ECSE Services

Our son was diagnosed with autism in 2005 at the age of 3.5, and we decided to enroll him in an MECP classroom at the urging of the evaluator. It was a tough decision; he'd been home with me or spending time with a family friend who had become like a grandparent to him. Because we wanted him to learn his native (non-English) language, we hadn't had the opportunity to spend time with other children his age. At the time, he was eligible for three mornings in an MECP classroom where he spent time with children experiencing disability and typical peers. (Later, I would enroll my daughter in a similar classroom so that she could serve as a typical peer. It was a wonderful opportunity to take part in an inclusive setting, and very cost-effective at $5 a day!) Speech and occupational therapy were pushed into the classroom, and we received daily communication from the staff at [...]

Senator Sara Gelser: “We need to hear your stories”

Oregon AEI was privileged to ask Senator Sara Gelser to share her thoughts about ways parents can get involved in advocating at the state level on issues that are important to them.  How did you get involved in advocating on behalf of people with disabilities? The day before my 21st birthday, I gave birth to my oldest child who was born with physical and developmental disabilities. Through the first years of his life, it became clear to me how much economic, educational, and health care privilege impacted his ability to make progress and exceed expectations. It seemed like such a profound injustice to me that a child could be limited in meeting their potential through lack of access to services, education, or health care. That’s why I got involved with advocacy for children with disabilities. Around the time my son was born (1994), Fairview was also in the news as [...]

News: Oregon’s Expanded Workforce Registry

December 20, 2016 Recently, the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services [HHS] and Education [ED] released a report that explored how states used integrated data from early childhood programs to improve their services. Oregon is one of the states highlighted for its development of an expanded registry for the early learning workforce. Before this expanded workforce registry was launched in 2012, Oregon did not have reliable basic demographic data on the early childhood workforce, such as how many people worked in early childhood programs, what jobs they held, their education level, how much training they received, their race, gender, ethnicity and primary language, etc. Today, Oregon’s integrated workforce database electronically links professional qualification and training data (from individual workforce members) with licensing data (from child care facilities in Oregon) in order to provide a better demographic profile of the early childhood workforce. Although this data is not presently connected to data on [...]

One Family’s Experience in Early Intervention: Benjamin

Benjamin was born in November 2010, four weeks earlier than we expected. Thankfully, because he had to be in the NICU, the doctors monitoring him on a daily basis were specialists in neonatal development, and we were able to detect his very rare chromosome deletion much earlier than we would have under normal circumstances. In January 2011, Benjamin had his first real "test" at only two months old when we had our first evaluation with Early Childhood Cares of Lane County to see if we qualified for Early Intervention services. I cannot think of another time when I have wished so hard to have my child fail. This is not something any parent would ever think that they would want to qualify for. However, over the last three and half years of our son's life, his early intervention team has been the foundation of our family's support system, and has [...]