For children with disabilities and developmental delays, accessing services early can help them build a strong foundation for success in kindergarten and beyond. Early education and therapy services have been shown to help children build the important functional daily living skills they need to thrive in school and in life. DEEL is proud to partner with the Developmental Bridge Program to ensure families of young children in Seattle who are eligible for developmental support services have access to them at no cost.
The Developmental Bridge Program, administered by Boyer Children’s Clinic, provides services to children from birth to four years old with disabilities and developmental delays. The Bridge program works in collaboration with Wonderland Child & Family Services, Northwest Center and Boyer Children’s Clinic to ensure children receive coordinated services between the three agencies.
“Through the speech services that our son received through Northwest Center and the Bridge program, his speech and language visibly and drastically got better. The [Speech-Language Pathologist] that we were assigned to was also amazing to work with and her services were excellent. We are so appreciative of everything that Northwest Center and the Bridge program has done for our family!” said Jimmy and Gina, parents of a child in the Bridge Program.
Throughout the pandemic, Bridge program therapists worked diligently to ensure children participating in the program did not experience gaps in service by offering both virtual learning sessions and safe, in-person visits by following all COVID-19 safety measures recommended by public health authorities.
“[The Bridge Program] helped us with everything. [My child’s] skills, getting us connected and [providing] the technology – I am really impressed with the skills of the providers to keep my child occupied through zoom… It was powerful. I really appreciate it,” said parents Sara and Pedro.
The Bridge program is proud to provide support, information and resources to parents and caregivers of children with disabilities and developmental delays to empower them to become strong advocates for their child’s needs.
“The Bridge program helped us have enough time to determine the next steps in supporting our daughter’s social-emotional development. At the time she turned three, we were already starting to feel much more confident, but the last few meetings both let us feel like we got to a really good place and helped us determine our options moving forward. We are so, so grateful to have had access to this service” said Caroline, another Bridge Program parent.
DEEL partnered with the King County Developmental Disabilities & Early Childhood Supports Division (DDECS) to launch the Developmental Bridge Program in 2018. To date, DEEL has invested nearly $500,000 annually from the City of Seattle’s Sweetened Beverage Tax revenue to ensure Seattle children have access to the resources they need to be ready kindergarten. The program has grown to now serve 81% more children per year than it did in 2018.
“Finding an [Occupational Therapist] that accepts our insurance and has openings has been extremely difficult. The Bridge Program helped my kid receive services when we otherwise would not have,” said Caitlin.
The Bridge Program is available and free for families with children who have a developmental concern for their child age 0-48 months old. Parents and guardians can learn more about the Bridge Program here. To inquire about an evaluation, contact Aster Berhane, Bridge Service Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (206) 325-8477.
Early learning professionals, including preschool teachers and child care providers, can help connect families to the Bridge program by sharing information with parents and guardians. Child care and early learning professionals can learn more about becoming referral partners for the Bridge Program by contacting Shawn Thompson at email@example.com.