Early Intervention: A Faculty Member’s Perspective

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When I started working in the field of Early Intervention, I fell in love not only with working one-on-one with children but also in investing in the whole family. My undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education from BJU enabled me to understand the Child Development piece of Early Intervention and general teaching strategies for both children and parents. Recently, I completed my Master of Arts in Human Services Counseling to be able to pair my experiences in the field with the theory behind family and home visiting services.

Early Intervention is a home visiting program funded through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The program in South Carolina provides contracts for private companies and their employees to work with families of children ages 0-3 who have a significant developmental delay or some kind of diagnosis. Early Intervention is a two-part job here in SC: coaching parents and coordinating services.

The requirements to become an Early Interventionist vary among states, but generally include approved 4-year undergraduate degrees and field experience, with some states requiring additional certifications. Fortunately, BJU integrates several of these add-on certifications within their programs. For instance, our Parenting and Family Education course focuses not only on a Biblical perspective of family, but also equips our students with the knowledge necessary to complete the National Family Support Certification Exam. We work together with our Special Education Program to give students pursuing both fields a full picture of how Early Intervention programs work with Special Education Programs. We also offer a freshman-level class, Behavior and Development: Infants & Toddlers, which is taught from inside the BJA Pennington Child Development Center. In this hands-on course, students engage with infants, toddlers, and their caregivers to apply what they are learning.

While Child Development programs are common, Early Intervention concentrations are more rare in universities, especially Christian universities. That’s what makes the BJU experience so unique. A graduate from our Child Development program with an Early Intervention concentration would be able to go into the field of Early Intervention in all 50 states or serve as a Child Development Specialist, Home Visitor, or Parent Educator in various childcare and specialized childcare settings.

I am excited about building courses that reflect a Biblical worldview coupled with the necessary competencies to equip our graduates with the tools they need for whatever calling they may find themselves in the future! Through Early Intervention, God has opened a door for our graduates to love and support families in our community and wherever He leads them.

Abbie Lobach is a 2016 BJU School of Education and Human Services graduate and currently serves as a member of the faculty.