West Newbury, MA | Thom Pentucket Early Intervention

Thom Pentucket is committed to providing high quality, comprehensive, and family-centered early intervention services to infants, toddlers, their families, and others in the community who care for them. Our nurses, social workers, occupational and physical therapists, speech-language pathologists, mental health counselors, educators, and other specialists are passionate about supporting families and young children. If you have a concern regarding your child’s development, please contact us.

320 Main Street, P.O. Box 956
West Newbury, MA 01985

Heather Brankman, Director
Phone: (978) 363-5553
Fax: (978) 363-2435
Hours: 8:00 - 5:00

Communities We Serve:

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early intervention program in West Newbury, MA

"I went from feeling powerless by the circumstances under which my child was born, to feeling powerful by the knowledge of how to specifically help my son.”

Services We Provide

Early Intervention

Early Intervention (EI) in Massachusetts is a statewide, family-centered, developmental service. Thom Child & Family Services offers the earliest possible intervention and support for children birth to three years old and their families. Children can be eligible based upon developmental delays, identified disabilities, or certain birth or environmental circumstances that can put development at risk. Early Intervention services are provided in a child’s natural environment. Regular visits with Early Intervention providers can occur at home, at childcare, and in other community settings.

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Early Intervention Programs

Child and Parent groups offered change from time to time, based on families’ and children’s needs and interests. If you have questions, please call the Thom Pentucket Early Intervention Program at (978) 363-5553 and/or send an email to Gretchen Dallaire (gdallaire@thomchild.org).

▸ Toddler Time Playgroup and Parent Group

Toddler Time MUSIC Playgroup and Toddler Time Playgroups are for children 24-36 months of age. Groups are offered on a variety of days and times. They are held in community settings in the towns which we serve.

TODDLER TIME groups are held once each week for 2 hours and led by members of the Thom Pentucket Early Intervention’s experienced staff. Staffing may include Developmental Educators, Speech and Language Pathologists, Occupational and Physical Therapists, Family Therapists, Music Therapists and Educational Assistants.

While each TODDLER TIME group is somewhat different based on the needs and interests of participating children, there are some common threads. All groups offer a language-rich, nurturing, and safe environment where children have the opportunity to explore activities and play with their peers. The Thom Pentucket Early Intervention staff maintain consistent routines including free play, motor play, drink time, circle time, music, and sensory/art experiences. TODDLER TIME groups promote communication skills, imitation, learning to follow directions, socialization, coping with transitions and stimulating large motor play. The high staff-to-child ratio, with at least one adult to every three children, allows staff to facilitate child-to-child peer interactions and learning in all areas of development. In TODDLER MUSIC TIME children learn to enjoy songs, rhythm, and music in a playful and relaxed setting that focuses on language development through music.

Thom Pentucket Early Intervention also provides a Bilingual (Spanish speaking) TODDLER TIME group at a site in Haverhill. The leader of the playgroup, teacher assistants, and Parent Group leader are all bilingual professionals.

Parents are present during the beginning of all groups while their child is transitioning into the setting and then separate to attend an optional Parent Group. PARENT GROUP is a time to talk with others about your experience as a parent/caregiver, to find support in the thrills and challenges of being a parent, to learn about child-development and community resources, and know that you are not alone in your journey as a parent/caregiver. The primary goals of the Parent Group are to offer support and resources to all parents/caretakers.

▸ Positive Play Playgroup

POSITIVE PLAY is a 9-10 week playgroup for 22-36 month old toddlers who would benefit from a highly structured setting and a high level of adult support to gain skills in a small group environment. POSITIVE PLAY is led by an EI clinician and uses a 1:1 parent/care giver to child ratio, with a maximum of 6 children. The clinician provides coaching, teaching, and guidance to the 1:1 adult regarding therapy approaches, prompting techniques, and fading techniques to promote their child’s growth. Emphasis is on promoting social communication, joint attention, emotional regulation, and coping with transitions as foundational skills for success in next step peer groups.

Each session includes the opportunity to have fun exploring motor equipment, small manipulative toys, sensory play, table-top activities, simple social games, music activities and Circle Time. Therapy approaches used in POSITIVE PLAY are sensory integration techniques and the principals of ABA therapy, along with observation and incidental teaching. Multi-sensory supports used in the group include picture schedules, total communication approach, auditory and visual cueing, songs, and a variety of prompting techniques. As each child gains play skills, independence, and demonstrates increased social interactions with peers and adults, these supports are gradually reduced.

Other Program Services

Trainings and consultation available for local community agencies and childcare programs on a variety of topics including:

  • Child Growth and Development
  • Speech and Language Development
  • Red Flags – Identifying Developmental Concerns
  • Behavior
  • Sensory Integration – What is it?
  • Simple Sign Language for Babies
  • Motor Development
  • The Value of Play
  • Turning Three (Transitions from Early Intervention)

Collaboration and Linkages with:

  • Community Action
  • Early Head Start
  • Healthy Families
  • Pentucket Perinatal Mental Health Coalition
  • WIC

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Meet Our Staff

Thom Pentucket Early Intervention

Thom Pentucket Early Intervention is in the business of helping children and their families achieve their goals. We recognize that our success depends on the skills and experience of the people who work for us. Thom Pentucket employs full and part-time staff members: social workers, therapists, nurses, a number of whom are fluent in Spanish, Portuguese and Sign Language.

Meet some of our dedicated staff:

Susan is a Music Therapist who has worked for Thom Pentucket since 2005. She is also singer-song writer who serves on the board of the Massachusetts Music Therapy Alliance. In her work in Early Intervention, Susan uses her passion for music to promote the development of children with complex medical needs and challenging developmental profiles.

Deborah is a Developmental Specialist who has worked in Early Intervention with Thom Pentucket for over 25 years. Deborah has a positive attitude and great enthusiasm for her work with the children and families in Early Intervention. She has especially enjoyed furthering her knowledge in social/emotional and sensory development, seeing them as foundational skills upon which all other areas of development grow.

Barbara is an Occupational Therapist with more than 30 years experience working with children from birth to 10 years of age. Twenty of those years have been in Early Intervention where Barbara has used her NDT (Neurodevelopmental Treatment) and SIPT (Sensory Integration Praxis Test) certifications to meet the developmental needs of children who have autism, feeding challenges, sensory processing difficulties, or physical disabilities. When her workday is done, Barbara is a water-color artist and photographer who has won several awards for her work.

Mary-Jane, a twenty year Early Intervention veteran, is a Registered Nurse with a special interest in childhood growth and nutrition. Prior to starting her Early Intervention career, Mary-Jane worked at the Boston Regional Medical Center.

Lori is a physical therapist with 30 years of experience. She loves helping children progress with all areas of development, but especially enjoys addressing gross motor concerns, bracing and equipment needs, and helping children with complex medical conditions. She loves working with families as they continue their parenting journey and supporting staff in her supervisory role.

Kristie is a speech language pathologist who began working at Thom Pentucket Early Intervention in 2002. She enjoys working with families to help them learn how to facilitate their children’s communication skills. She believes that caregivers are a vital part of the team and provides strategies and activities to facilitate speech and language development at home. Kristie is also a Certified Hanen Instructor for both the It Takes Two to Talk and Target Word programs. She also holds an interest in working with children with hearing loss and augmentative communication. When she is not working or spending time enjoying the outdoors with her husband, three children and chocolate lab, you can find her at the yoga studio.

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