Jan 23, 2013 5:42 PM by Simone DeAlba (Great Falls)
GREAT FALLS - Eagle Mount is known for helping kids, and even adults, with special needs, but they also work to help some of the smallest members of our community through the "Tippy Toes" class, geared toward helping parents of infants.
One of the class participants is five-month old Aiden, who lost his twin brother while still in his mother's womb, and was later diagnosed with Down syndrome.
Every Tuesday his mother Debra Kercher brings him to Tippy Toes, where teachers specialize in teaching infant and toddler development for those with special needs.
One of the teachers is Jill Van Son, who explained, "It's movement, music, and play, and we work on secondary and some brain exercises and it lets the kids and the parents focus on their ability and not their disability."
For others just like Aiden, it's a safe haven, a place where they can continue to grow and meet new friends.
Debra said, "It's amazing to meet other moms that their children have special needs and it's amazing to have a program like this you can introduce at so young an age."
Eagle Mount has built a community around those with special needs by offering a variety of activities and letting parents know they aren't alone.
Eagle Mount director Deb Sivumaki said, "It also allows parents to realize that they aren't the only one in the world with a child with special needs...so you gain friends."
Van Son said, "The main thing is parents...no matter if your child is typical or with special needs...just enjoy your child for who he or she is."
Here is more information about Tippy Toes:
Tippy Toes is a physical session for both parent and child. By exploring our child's movement patterns we enrich our understanding of their world and develop new ideas of communicating and supporting them on their journey.
Tippy Toes program focuses on: Creative movement taught through rhyme and chanting games, musical instrument playing, exercising important movement patterns for brain growth, working with props, and just enjoying your child for who he or she is and who he or she is becoming.
- Encourages the development of secure relationships.
- Provides opportunities to explore a variety of sensory and motor skills.
- Provides social/emotional development to interact with each other and express themselves freely.
- Encourages movement for all abilities to increase their memory and ability to communicate.
- Allows parent/caregiver to enjoy their child for who they are and not what they are diagnosed with.