Every Child Achieves is a provider that specializes in delivering services in the child’s natural environment. Traditionally this environment includes the child’s home, daycare, or local community center or park, etc. Every Child Achieves is considered a “home-based” provider not a “center-based” provider. Therefore, our locations are based on our coverage area capacity and not physical locations.
Why do early intervention services occur in the natural environment?
Evidence shows that children between the ages of birth to three can reach and exceed their developmental milestones when therapeutic services occur in the natural environment. “Many children perform better when they’re around familiar things. For young children with developmental delays or learning and thinking differences, this is even more important.” Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is the reason specialists often come to you. It requires that infants and toddlers receive services in natural environments as much as possible. This is a legal requirement. In general, children must receive services in a setting or place that’s natural for an infant or toddler of the same age who does not have a disability. The natural setting may differ from one child to the next, based on family routines and the types of services needed. Service providers can offer services in other settings, too. But they may do this only when it’s not possible to do so in a natural environment.
A natural environment includes where your child lives and plays. But it’s more than just a place. It’s also a process. It includes things like these:
Settings such as:
• Your home or backyard
• A relative’s home
• A child-care site
• A park
Materials found in your child’s environment such as:
People such as:
• Brothers and sisters
Activities such as:
• Eating snacks
• Bathing or dressing
• Walking the dog
• Going to the grocery store
• Celebrating holidays
Many children perform better when they’re around familiar things. For young children with developmental delays or learning and thinking differences, this is even more important. They are more likely to learn. Then they can get the very most out of early intervention services.
A natural environment may:
• Make it easier for your child to practice new skills without leaving home
• Allow him to stay engaged by doing things that interest him
• Allow a service provider to model behaviors for family members and peers
Working with a child in his natural environment removes one step in the learning process. It means he won’t need to figure out how to transfer what he’s practiced in a clinical setting to the place where he plays and lives.
Of course, having services available in your home and community can make a big difference to you, too. It means you don’t spend as much time traveling to appointments at multiple locations. And you may receive some “coaching” from the specialists as you go about your day.