Alabama’s Early Intervention System (EI) and the District II and District III councils of the Early Intervention Council collaborated to present the “Color Your World Early Intervention Conference” on Feb. 25 in Homewood.
The one-day conference, which featured 11 distinct sessions, provided a training opportunity for early intervention professionals as well as parents. The conference attracted more than 250 attendees, including teachers, social workers, audiologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, nurses, and speech pathologists.
The keynote speaker for the early morning general session was EI Coordinator Betsy Prince, who shared her personal experiences as the parent of a child with special needs.
Breakout session topics for the conference included recognition of signs of hearing loss in infants, benefits of interventions for feeding and swallowing difficulties, the importance of ‘tummy time,’ transition from EI to preschool, early intervention tools for families, facilitating social and emotional development through play therapy, and addressing physical fitness for children with special health care needs.
Prince said the conference is part of an effort to better respond to local training needs in each of EI’s seven districts. The districts that include Huntsville and Mobile will be holding similar training opportunities in May, while the district that includes Tuscaloosa will be holding its conference in June.
EI staff, providers, and parents gather for a statewide conference each fall, but the smaller conferences are intended to target the specific needs of each district. The mini-conferences also encourage more interaction and reduce travel costs, Prince said.