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A message from RMCC Executive Director, Peggy Small-Porter
Dear Parents, Caregivers and Faithful RMCC Supporters,
We sincerely hope that you are all staying healthy and safe during this unprecedented and difficult time. Please know RMCC’s commitment to each one of the children and families we serve has not changed.
While our building is closed, our therapists and educators remain devoted to each child they work with and continue to deliver needed services through Telehealth; that is, connecting with and guiding each family, using phone calls and video conferencing.
The Richie McFarland Children’s Center continues to keep the health and safety of the families we work with, as well as that of our staff, as our highest priority. In that spirit, RMCC will adhere to the Executive Orders issued by Governor Sununu. The Stay at Home directive and the mandatory school closures will be followed.
RMCC Board and staff are working hard to plan ahead and be proactive despite the uncertainty we are currently facing. We have persevered through difficult times before and know that, once the world overcomes this monumental challenge, our communities will thrive again.
We are here for you and encourage you to reach out with any questions or concerns.
Frequently Asked Questions about Early Supports and Services During COVID-19 Emergency
Is the Richie McFarland Children’s Center providing early intervention services during the pandemic?
Yes, we are! We continue to provide intakes, evaluations, and OT/PT/Speech/Educational services remotely from our own homes. We rely on Zoom, Microsoft Teams, FaceTime and phone calls!
What does a Zoom intervention visit even LOOK like?
When RMCC therapists provide in person visits, they utilize a coaching model. This means they teach the parent or caregiver how to do the intervention/play strategies. During our remote visits, the therapists do the same thing. The therapist observes play, listens to concerns, and provides strategies to the parent. After observing the parent’s implementation of the strategy, the therapist then provides feedback on how to improve or progress the strategy. Children are learning, they are making progress and families are invested!
The child I am concerned about has some fairly significant developmental needs. How do you successfully provide remote intervention with a child on the autism spectrum? With complex care needs?
As always, we look at the whole child and consider family and environmental needs as well. We have therapists trained in FloorTime and Early Start Denver Model (ESDM). They partner with staff trained in sensory processing disorders and together they coach, model and problem solve, on camera and off! We have “Zoomed” during stressful routines (feeding, dressing, bathtime). We develop materials and produce therapeutic videos that might be of help to families. For children with complex medical needs, the therapist uses the same coaching model for handling techniques and assists the parent in navigating the medical system.
Should a family just hold off on referring to Early Supports and Services until your agency can resume home visits again? What is the harm in waiting? Our mantra has always been, “When in doubt, check it out”. If a family (or a physician) has a concern, the sooner we receive that referral, the better. We can provide a family with therapeutic and developmental strategies immediately.
When will RMCC resume face-to-face visits with families? We will provide therapeutic supports via remote consultation for the foreseeable future, while our community adheres to directives from public health officials to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Our primary concern is to protect the health and well-being of our clients, their families and our staff. While no formal decisions have been made, it is likely that our teleconsultations will continue through the summer.
How do I refer children to Early Supports and Services during this pandemic?
Referrals are made the same way they have always been made. Please call One Sky Community Services at #436-6111 and ask for Scott Hopper. He will take the family’s demographic information and assign them to either RMCC or Waypoint. An intake and an evaluation will be scheduled, and services will begin. As always, families can self-refer if they so choose.
I have a few more questions.
Please do not hesitate to call Sue Ford at Richie McFarland Children’s Center at #658-6235.
Together, with continued patience and compassion for one another, we will get through this.