Over the past few years, the Early Support for Infants and Toddlers (ESIT) program provided by the North Central Educational Service District (NCESD) has seen significant growth in Grant County. With a commitment to serving families and children with diverse needs, the NCESD ESIT team has grown to better address the demands.
Over the years, the program’s name has evolved from “Birth to three” to “Early Intervention”, and it is now known as the NCESD Early Support for Infants and Toddlers Program (ESIT), said NCESD Managing Director of Early Learning, Janelle Bersch.
“Regardless of the name changes, one thing remains constant,” Bersch added. “The program’s unwavering commitment to providing support and quality services to families in their natural environments is always at the forefront of what we do.”
NCESD began serving Grant County with Early Support for Infant and Toddler services in 2017 while supporting families in the Moses Lake School District. Back then, there were approximately 30-40 children enrolled in the program. By the fall of 2018, the services extended to all Grant County school districts, and the number of children served nearly doubled to around 80.
Today, in 2023, the program serves nearly 150 children and their families in Grant County. This makes up almost half of all children served by the NCESD ESIT program across Chelan, Douglas, and Grant Counties as well as Nespelem School District.
A Growing Team and Expanded Office Space
To support this growing number of children and families in Grant County, NCESD has a team of 18 dedicated staff members. This team includes six family resource coordinators, two occupational therapists, a physical therapist, two speech pathologists, two speech pathology assistants, a virtual speech pathologist, a vision specialist, and three special instruction teachers.
As the program expanded, it became necessary to open a new office space for NCESD ESIT staff in Grant County. With all their work conducted in the home environment, having a central hub was essential, Bersch explained.
“This new office space provides staff with a safe place to recharge, access resources, work on their computers, and respond to correspondence between home and community visits,” Bersch continued. “It fosters a sense of community for the team, and staff can access essential materials swiftly for family and child support.”
The entire NCESD ESIT program employs 31 support staff and specialists, as well as several contractors, to work with children and families across the region.
Comprehensive Support for Children
The NCESD ESIT program operates under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA). Children are referred to the program from various sources, such as pediatricians, primary care referrals, hospitals, NICU, and child welfare services. The needs of these children span a wide developmental spectrum, including feeding, motor skills, special instruction, speech and language support, behavior coaching, developmental guidance for premature infants, interventions for traits of autism, and assistance in transitioning children to school district early childhood special education services.
The NCESD team collaborates with families to identify their goals and implement strategies that can be seamlessly integrated into their daily routines, ensuring maximum developmental progress for the children.
The growth of the NCESD ESIT program in Grant County reflects the team’s commitment to providing comprehensive support to children and families with diverse needs. As the program continues to grow and evolve, it ensures that every child has the opportunity to reach their fullest potential, regardless of their unique circumstances.
If you would like to learn more about the NCESD Early Support for Infants and Toddlers program, please contact Janelle Bersch at 509-667-3641 or Stephanie Reynolds at 509-285-9998.