Getting the Group Helping Your Child in the Community started:
Weekly Time Frame for Program:
  • 90 minute sessions
  • One day per week
  • 10 week period.
Number of Families Participating in the Program:
  • 8 to 10 children with special needs and their caregiver(s)
Staffing Model:
  • 1- occupational therapist
  • 1- speech language pathologist
  • 1- physical therapist
  • 2- museum associates
Note: The decision was made to have a therapist
from each discipline so that we could address all developmental areas; however, the group would work with fewer therapy disciplines if you wanted to target a specific domain such as speech and language/communication skills.

Criteria for How Families Were Chosen to Participate in the Pilot Program Helping Your Child with Special Needs in the Community:
  • Parents who expressed an interest level in participating in the group
  • Children who were able to walk short distances (with the aid of a walker or crutches, if needed) and were able to follow some simple directions, with assistance, such as "stop", "sit" etc
  • Targeted age range: 18-36 months
  • Families who may have limited access to other opportunities for their children to participate in community activities
  • Families ability to commit to a 10-session program
Note: It was decided to have a group that was very heterogeneous (as far as the types of diagnoses identified) so that we could target different areas of need while also enabling the children and families to learn from each other's strengths.

Families Were Sent a Letter With Attachments Outlining the Following Information:
  • Details about the program such as times/dates/ expectations
  • Statement of the general purpose of the group
  • A "missed visit policy" as we wanted to ensure consistent attendance for the benefit of all participents as well as to let families know what to do if their child was sick and had to miss a session ( this was a document to be signed and returned ) View Sample Letter
Prior to the first session, we had families complete a Pretest to help in planning for the groups.

Note: The pretest was designed to provide the group leaders with information about each child's current level of functioning from the parent's perspective, as well as to gather information about what the parents hoped to gain from the group.