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

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

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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 who have developmental difficulties due to identified disabilities or whose development is at risk due to certain birth or environmental circumstances.

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Early Intervention Programs

Groups offered change from time to time, based on families’ and children’s needs and interests. Please call the Thom Pentucket Early Intervention Program at (978) 363-5553 and ask for Gretchen Dallaire at extension 163 for up-to-date times and details about any of our playgroup opportunities.

▸ Baby & Me

For children 6-12 months of age and their parent(s). Playgroup is held for 1 ½ hours each week. It is currently held at the Thom Pentucket Early Intervention Program in West Newbury. The group helps parents to realize their role as their child’s first and most important teacher. Parents discover new ways to interact with their child during group time as well as at home. Baby and Me playgroup gives parents informal opportunities to socialize and find support for themselves with other parents.

▸ The Young & the Restless

Groups are for children 12 -24 months of age and their parents. Groups are held for 1 ½ hours each week and currently take place at the Newbury Elementary School in Newbury and Early Head Start's Fox Center in Haverhill. Young and the Restless groups provide an emotionally supportive place for parents to learn more about promoting their child’s development and children have the opportunity to interact with other children and improve their play and social skills. Emphasis is also placed on routines which foster children’s attention and communication skills. Young and the Restless groups are social and educational opportunities for parents and children alike.

▸ Musical Moments

A music-based group, is led by a Music Therapist for children 18-36 months of age and their parent(s). This group meets weekly for 2 hours at Newbury Elementary School. Parents separate from the children and are encouraged to participate in an optional parent group. In this group, children learn to enjoy songs, rhythm and music in a playful and relaxed setting that focuses on language development through music.

▸ Little Explorers

Play groups are for children 18-36 months of age. Groups are offered on a variety of days and times. They are held in community school settings including:

  • Haverhill Family and Community Connections Program
  • Triton Regional Schools at the Newbury Elementary School
  • Perley School in Georgetown
  • Early Head Start's Fox Center in Haverhill

Little Explorers groups are held once each week for 2 hours and are led by members of the Thom Pentucket Early Intervention’s experienced staff. Parents are present during the beginning of the group while their child is transitioning into the group and then separate to attend an optional Parent Group. The groups include children from the community, as well as children receiving services from the Thom Pentucket Early Intervention Program.

Siblings, cousins or friends in this age range who have typically developing skills are welcome to join in as community peers when space is available. While each Little Explorers group is somewhat different based on the ages, 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 and play with their peers. The Thom Pentucket Early Intervention staff maintain consistent routines including free play, motor play, snack, circle time, music, and pretend and manipulative play activities. Little Explorers groups promote language skills, imitation, learning to follow directions, socialization, independence and self-care skills 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 interaction and learning in all areas of development.

Thom Pentucket Early Intervention also provides a Bilingual (Spanish speaking) Little Explorers Playgroup at the Haverhill Family and Community Connections site one morning a week. The leader of the playgroup, teacher assistants and Parent Group leader are all bilingual professionals.

Staffing for all playgroups is provided by Thom Pentucket Early Intervention professionals, who may include Developmental Educators, Speech and Language Pathologists, Occupational and Physical Therapists, Family Therapists, Music Therapists and Educational Assistants.

Other Program Services

Workshops for parents and other members of the community include:

  • 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)

Also includes:

  • Community Developmental Screenings
  • Consultation and Technical Assistance to Child Care and Other Community Providers

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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 100 full and part-time staff members: counselors, social workers, therapists, nurses and a teacher of the deaf, a number of whom are fluent in Spanish and Sign Language.

Meet some of our dedicated staff:

Susan is a Music Therapist with 18 years experience in Early Intervention 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.

Alexandra is a Speech Language Pathologist with an MS degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders who has worked in Early Intervention (EI) since 2014. She began working with children in high school, and now appreciates the opportunity that EI gives her to work with children and their families together, empowering parents to incorporate strategies and help their children develop communication skills.

Deborah is a Developmental Specialist who has worked in Early Intervention with Thom Pentucket for 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.

Katie is an Occupational Therapist who is excited about, “devising and implementing sensory diets,” personalized activities of sensory input for infants and young children. Katie came to Early Intervention two years ago after working in an acute rehabilitation facility.

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.

Héla is a Physical Therapist with seventeen years of Early Intervention experience. She is very interested in how motor development impacts on and is impacted by other areas of development. As a Team Supervisor, Héla is particularly excited by Early Intervention’s capacity to encourage interactive learning and growth for everyone involved, parents, children and clinicians alike.

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