Our Early Interventionists Get a Shoutout from a Pennsylvania Family
KenCrest Occupational Therapist, Sandy Meroney, and Special Instructor, Jenny Ferguson, receive special shoutout during our weekly town hall.
By Sydney Kerelo
At the beginning of April, during the weekly KenCrest Town Hall, one occupational therapist and one special instructor received a personal shoutout from a Montgomery County family. The family raved over their incredible support, especially during the COVID-19 surge in January 2022.
At two-and-a-half years old, Theo Rosenfeld began expressing his big feelings at daycare in negative ways—like pinching or pushing children during free play. The Rosenfeld family sought additional support to help Theo understand his big emotions.
That’s where KenCrest’s early interventionists, Sandy Meroney and Jenny Ferguson came in. Meroney, a staff occupational therapist, and Ferguson, a special instructor, work together to help Theo understand his big feelings and learn to express them in positive ways.
“From about September to December, we started noticing some of the challenges at home, but they occurred with his peers at school,” says Theo’s mother, Rachael Rosenfeld. “Theo’s an only child, and during COVID, we limited our playdates and socializing him outside of school. So, most of the difficult issues for him show up in a classroom environment, like sharing toys and asking for help.”
To help combat these negative behaviors, Meroney and Ferguson provide Theo with special instruction for an hour twice a week through the Birth-to-Three Early Intervention program.
Meroney and Ferguson work closely with Theo, his teacher, parents, and even the other students in the classroom to develop a support plan that will help him succeed.
The support plan provides typical social and emotional development and its impact on free play. Additionally, Theo’s interventionists explained that all behaviors toddlers experience are their way of communicating. A few tips and tricks Meroney and Ferguson implement are encouraging Theo’s teacher to limit the number of students at each free play activity and coaching the teachers on being more involved in free play by sitting on the floor.
They also introduced a sticker chart into the classroom that would praise Theo for any positive behaviors.
One significant impact on Theo was the social stories they provided during school and at home, “I Am a Super Friend” and “Suri Spider Selects a Solution.” These stories help Theo navigate the complexities of free play and teach him positive affirmations that he can use at school and home.
“We’ve been reading many different books about handling big feelings,” says Rachael. “We do many acting it out in play— like you can be a dinosaur and roar, you can stomp your feet like an elephant, and Theo loves all that.”
“He’s catching on to the treatment plan, too,” adds Rachael. “Today, he came home, and he had a rough morning. He said, ‘I didn’t get a sticker because I was frustrated this morning.’ So, he’s catching on because of the exposure, and we’re so proud of him.”
Rachael Rosenfeld sent a raving review of Meroney and Ferguson’s work to KenCrest. She is thrilled with her son’s progress and is excited to see him continue to progress with their help.
KenCrest’s Early Intervention services are offered in Pennsylvania for ages birth to five and in Delaware for birth to three. Early Intervention provides various services, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, special instruction, psychological services (only available in Philadelphia), nutrition, hearing, vision, hearing, and behavior supports.
Want to learn more about our Early Intervention services in Pennsylvania? Click here!