Emily has been an integral part of the team at Northwest Center Kids for ten years, but she’s been part of the Northwest Center family for much longer than that.
Emily, an aide at Northwest Center Kids at Chinook, attended the school as a child. In fact, a framed photo of Emily as a baby still hangs at one of our schools today.
“Right out of high school, Emily started her career at Northwest Center,” says her mom Marilyn. “It was a godsend because it fit her perfectly and felt like home since she attended there as a child."
Launched in September 2018, IMPACT™ (Inclusion Mentorship Program for increasing Access in Childcare Team) has already made a significant impact on the early learning community in King County. The program, which provides training and support to childcare centers so that they can welcome children with special needs up to age 5, has already added 12 local providers to its roster of partners. The IMPACTeam™ is currently working with more than 70 kids and 25 individual teaching staff and child care directors.
It was an epic day at the 7th Annual Northwest Center Golf Classic as more than 120 players competed in rounds of championship golf at The Golf Club at Newcastle. Golfers got out their putters on the greens and also their wallets to give green: they raised $85,000 to launch EPIC (Expanding Play, Interaction and Communication), a new Northwest Center Kids initiative that will provide early and ongoing support to families of children with autism.
Event host Bill Krueger, former Seattle Mariners ace and Northwest Center’s strategic relationship officer, competed with some of his professional athletic pals including former Seahawks defensive end Alonzo Mitz, former Mariners pitcher Erik Hanson, Charlie Furbush, former Mariner and current MLB player, and former Mariners centerfielder Brian Hunter.
CEO Gene Boes with Samira Salkic, AVP Community Manager at 2017 Holiday Drive partner Umpqua Bank, with Mike from The Big Blue Truck™
Want to make a big difference for people in need this year during the holidays? Join Northwest Center’s 2018 holiday drive. Once again, we’ll fulfill the wish lists of families in need by collecting toys and clothes that The Big Blue Truck™, Northwest Center Kids, and our executive team will distribute for the holidays.
Kam grabs a slice of “watermelon” from the play food on his family’s coffee table. He pretends to eat it, then offers some to Ricky, his dad.
It’s more than a happy family moment, says Susannah Major, a Speech Language Pathologist with Northwest Center Kids. “This is huge,” she enthuses. “Pretend play is such a prerequisite for language.”
Derby Honoree Brian Evison of DAE Capital, second from left, with Patricia Mary, Sarah, and Matt Evison
What an impact The Derby had on IMPACT™, a new initiative from Northwest Center Kids. The silent and live auction held in April at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel, with a goal of raising $100,000 to launch the new service, instead raised more than three times that amount with donations totaling $306,000.
Vital need sparked a new approach to inclusive early learning
Katrina Caron, Director of Early Learning at Northwest Center’s Chinook location, gets the calls all the time.
“Parents will have a child with a special need and they can’t find care anywhere. Or their child is going to be kicked out of their preschool. Or the current school is not meeting their child’s needs. I have to say, ‘I’m really sorry, but I have to put you on our waitlist’ when we can’t take more children.”
Anthony and his mom Sara
Anthony looks at the world a little differently—and often beautifully.
“When Anthony goes up a hill, he says it’s heavy because it makes his body feel heavy,” says his mom Sara. “What a unique way to describe that feeling.”
Still, Sara and her husband Jason struggled to find a preschool that would nurture Anthony’s potential the same as any other child.
The program that Northwest Center Early Intervention has pioneered in collaboration with the University of Washington Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (UW NICU) is not only making a huge impact on families whose babies are beginning life in the UW NICU; it’s also making one statewide.
What is something special about you?
Though sometimes difficult to answer, Chris Ulmer asks this question to nearly everyone he interviews. Ulmer, a special education teacher turned an internationally renowned speaker, travels the globe interviewing people with disabilities. His goal is to not tell their stories, but to give them the opportunity to tell their story themselves.
Looking to explore something new this weekend? Check out our list of family friendly activities based throughout the Seattle metro area!
Know of other goings-on? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook!
Modes of communication consistently evolve, with technology serving as a catalyst. New assistive technology is focusing on ways to facilitate communication for people who are non-verbal or have difficulties expressing themselves verbally. Whether reading brain waves or offering quick expression sharing options, tech ventures are a driving force behind innovative ways to democratize communication.
Happy World Reading Day! While every day should be a reading day, today we get to celebrate the amazing invention of the story. Books are such an incredible tool when it comes to children’s success, development, and creativity. Books have enabled children all around the world to engage one another in a common language. They teach us how to be good people. Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree teaches the importance of sharing and appreciating your loved ones (and has been translated into more than 30 languages). Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax shows us the value of taking care of the world around you. Crockett Johnsons’ Harold and the Purple Crayon is a perfect illustration of just how far your imagination can take you.
This morning, Betsy DeVos was nominated as Secretary of Education under President Donald Trump. This nomination will move to Congress for approval in the coming weeks. While DeVos was met with harsh criticism in recent weeks from Democrats and special needs advocates, “deep opposition from special education advocates was not enough to prevent President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the U.S. Department of Education from moving forward.” (Disability Scoop, January 31, 2017).
Gaining much attention is DeVos’s public position on Individuals with Disabilities Act and her belief that it should be run state-by-state, moving from the current national standardization. Following is a history of IDEA, what the law actually entails, and what it means to people with disabilities.
In 1967, almost 200,000 individuals with significant disabilities were living in state institutions. Before the passing of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) of 1975, people with disabilities were likely to have inequitable opportunities in life. State institutions provided only minimal clothing, food, and shelter; furthermore, people with disabilities were merely accommodated rather than assessed and educated.
Northwest Center Kids in 2016
By Laura Kneedler
Vice President, Northwest Center Kids
This time of year is our favorite – not only can we share our appreciation with our loyal audience, we get to fill you in on the exciting progress we made this past year!
We’re so grateful to be a part of all families involved with Northwest Center Kids, and through our Early Intervention and Early Learning programs we were able to serve nearly 600 children and families in 2016.
I’m a mother of two special needs children at Northwest Center Kids. My son was diagnosed at 18 months old with autism. Our daughter, during that same period, was born prematurely at 29 weeks and diagnosed with Prader Willi Syndrome, which is a rare genetic disorder with both physical and mental delays.
When Tiago and Aviana were born two months prematurely, doctors told their parents that they would need to adjust expectations for the twins’ development. Developmental milestones including walking and speaking would likely develop on a different timeline than that of full term babies. Sitting for the average baby is usually around six to nine months. For Tiago and Aviana, it was much later.
By Katia, Northwest Center Mom
Northwest Center Early intervention has helped me understand Alex. Everybody is so on top of things, helping me and helping Alex learn to eat. Before, I would chase after him if he left the table. Now I talk to him to engage him at the table so that he stays and eats more. Early Intervention has made changes happen.
Northwest Center is different from other programs I work with because there are several resources in your network like a nutritionist and feeding team, so I don’t have to wait for referrals to different places. We have meetings with his childcare, Early Head Start, Alex’s doctor and his nutritionist, which means that we are all on the same page, so there is connection and support. We are all trying to find a way together for Alex to work on the things that are hard for him right now.
Northwest Center is a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization. We envision a day when all people have the same opportunity to learn, work and enjoy a fulfilling life. From birth to retirement, we support people with disabilities.
This story was originally published as part of Northwest Center's 50th anniversary project: 50 Stories Worth Sharing
With winter quickly approaching, we understand that families need to find activities to fill their children's time. Crafts can be a great way to engage with children in a manner they find entertaining while also offering the opportunity for teachable moments. Below is a list of five activities that make indoor time seem like the most exciting option!
In fall of 2016, Northwest Center Kids received a letter that started like this:
Dear Northwest Center Kids,
At only 11-years-old, Nora’s life story is already full of triumph and success. Following Nora’s Down syndrome diagnosis, her family came to Northwest Center in search of a daycare and early learning program that could also offer her early intervention services.
“It’s the only place in Seattle that actually had that and it was really important for our family,” recalls Nora’s mom, Marti. At 4-months-old Nora began attending Northwest Center Kids, an inclusive program where children with and without disabilities learn and play together. But Nora still had more to show the world that she could overcome.
Onna’s personality is perfectly summed up by her parents’ nickname for her: Dancing Iron Baby.
“She’d been through so much, but her little feet, as a baby, they were always dancing,” explains her mother Marija. “She was always moving along, pushing.”
But while the nickname is perfect now, it’s one that Marija and her husband might not have imagined at first. Because when Onna was born with a heart condition and Down syndrome, Marija remembers, “The whole experience with the diagnoses is initially very negative. You’re not told, ‘Oh, your child has a Trisomy 21,’” she says in a chipper way. “You’re told,” -- now she shifts her voice to a hushed, ultra-serious tone -- “‘I’m so sorry. Your child has this diagnosis.’ So your expectations are not very high.”
When they learned their daughter Helena would be born with Down syndrome, Lisa and Joe Wasikowski knew they’d face some difficult choices. The one easy choice was to work with Northwest Center Early Intervention.
“Helena was in the NICU, and a social worker handed me a business card with Northwest Center info on it,” Lisa says. “By the time Helena came home from the hospital, we'd already met with our new team in our home and had formed a plan. She started therapy at three weeks old.”
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