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Preschool program helps kids with special needs
W Unsung
Teachers with the Preschool Intervention Program of Bulloch County Schools are shown. - photo by Special

   The Preschool Intervention Program of Bulloch County Schools is made up of a very special group of ladies who use a team approach to identify and serve 3, 4, and 5-year-olds who have special needs.
      They help parents and other professionals identify and meet the needs of the children they work with throughout Bulloch County. Referrals come from a variety of sources, including Babies Cant Wait, physicians, parents, daycare, and preschool sites.
      Marilyn Dryden, Ed.D., is director of Early Care and Student Services. She said that one program goal is to help the children to develop skills to the very best of their ability, in order to help promote the growth of each individual. Another goal is to educate the public, whether it is parents, agencies, or daycares, in knowing that there is a place to call for consultation and more information if they have concerns about preschoolers in their care.
      Dr. Dryden’s team includes the following Preschool Interventionists - Donna Price, Suzette Stills, Sherri Cannady, Shelly Rountree, and Brooke Carter. Other indispensable members of the team include: Speech Therapists Deborah Whitfield & Lea Lanier; and Paraprofessionals Laurinda Cone, Cheryl Smallwood, April Prosser, and Laura Hill.
      The team works with children who experience developmental delays or disabilities that require specialized instruction, which is provided in a variety of environments including community-based settings and specialized classrooms. Carter said.
      The classrooms are made up of students with various needs. Occupational, physical and speech therapists, along with teachers, work together to ensure that the needs of each student are met. The team also collaborates with other professionals as needed, including school psychologists, behavior analysts, school nurses, and teachers who work with students with visual and hearing impairments.
      Dr. Dryden said she is very proud of her staff.
      “This is the most caring, knowledgeable, and empathic group of people I have ever had the pleasure to work with.”
She explained one of the first challenges:
      “We are quite often the first people to recognize that a child may have special needs,” she said. “The Preschool Intervention Program staff feel privileged to work with these children, as well as their incredible families. They truly love their jobs and the children they work with.”
      If you would like more information regarding the Bulloch County Preschool Intervention Program, call Cyndi Westberry at 764-1514 or Suzette Stills at 764-1640.