Early Intervention organizes event for families, children
© Thomas Becker - Amherst Daily News
Left – Students Jill Wood, Lacey Bulmer and Natalie Gillis provide children with one-on-one support to help them become more socially active.
AMHESRT - No one said it’s an easy task raising a child with special needs and sometimes all a family needs is a little help.
The Cumberland Early Intervention Program (CEIP) is there for that purpose.
“Sometimes (for parents) it’s just nice to go shopping by yourself,” Natalie Gillis, a Mount Allison student said.
On Friday from 12 to 2 p.m. the CEIP will be hosting the annual Family Picnic Day for families and their children.
The free of charge event will include a barbecue and several family oriented activities and everyone is encouraged to participate.
The CEIP is a family centered organization that serves children with special needs and their families in their homes and communities.
During the summer the CEIP hires university students as respite workers. Respite workers provide the children with the one-on-one support they need so that they can participate in recreational and developmental activities throughout the summer months.
“As a respite worker we’re able to give the parents a break and allows us to take the kids out in a more social setting,” Gillis said.
They also provide recreational and developmental programs in the form of the SMILE program for younger children and a SHINE program for older individuals ages 12-21. Each week they organize events such as bowling night, movie night, day trips to Magic Mountain and more.
“It’s a great way for them to come out and meet new people and to become more socially active.”
The CEIP has always been a popular organization for the families and their kids.
“The parents are very, very appreciative of this program,” Lacey Bulmer, from Crandall University said.
The children always look forward to these summer events, Gillis said.
“Some of the parents we talked to about the programs say their children embrace the program and enjoy everything it provides.”
As for the summer students they look forward to the challenge and wouldn’t trade this job for anything else, Gillis said.
“We love our jobs. You really get to know these kids and form relationships with them.”