learn Winner / 2020

Best We Can Be Early Education Program

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by Pediatric Therapy Network

PTN’s Best We Can Be Early Education Programs promote school readiness and enhance functional abilities among children with and at-risk for developmental delays and disabilities. This grant will help to expand and enhance evidence-based educational and therapeutic interventions designed to help young children overcome individual delays in preparation for preschool and community-based programs, and provide parents with the knowledge, tools, and resources they need to help their children reach their fullest potential.


Has your proposal changed due to COVID-19?

While COVID-19 has impacted our ability to provide services in-person, it has not stopped us from delivering exceptional high-quality early education and therapeutic programming to the children and families we serve in LA County. Following recommendations from the LA County Health Department and the CDC, PTN suspended all in-person services on March 16. In the weeks since, PTN’s multi-disciplinary teams demonstrated considerable ingenuity and creativity, quickly mobilizing to implement alternative early education, therapy, and parent support measures to ensure continuity of care for our clients. PTN migrated nearly all of its individual and group programs to a telehealth platform, including all of our Best We Can Be early intervention and parent support programs. In addition, our team developed relevant and digitally accessible resources for families isolated at home that can be accessed for free via our website and YouTube channel. The services PTN provides are vital to long-term developmental, academic and social outcomes for children with and at-risk for developmental delays and disabilities. Sadly, any disruption in care can lead to devastating, life-long impacts. As families continue to receive diagnoses and grapple daily with a wide range of developmental challenges such as autism, feeding issues and more, PTN continues to provide them essential therapeutic services and resources.

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • South Bay

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Expand existing program

If you are submitting a collaborative proposal, please describe the specific role of partner organizations in the project.

While PTN is not submitting this application in collaboration with a community partner, we do work directly with more than a dozen child-and family-focused organizations in the Los Angeles area. This includes partnering with Regional Centers and 15 local school districts to provide therapeutic care to children in need, as well as collaborating with DCFS, WIC and 211LA, area health care providers and others to ensure children and families are connected to the resources and support they need. PTN also collaborates with USC, CSU Dominguez Hills and CSU Long Beach to further advance the field through research and education. These collaborative partnerships impact and enhance our service delivery across all our programs.

What is the need you’re responding to?

It is widely documented that early intervention can change a child’s developmental trajectory and improve outcomes for children, families and communities. More than 600,000 young children live in LA County, 1 in 4 is at risk for developmental delays, and an estimated 51% live in poverty. The 2018 California Children’s Report Card, from Children Now, indicates 1 in 4 California children is at risk for developmental, behavioral, or social delays. Such conditions result in impairments in physical functioning, learning, language or behavior that affect cognition and long-term academic outcomes. Low-income children, particularly children of color, have a higher prevalence of developmental delays and are more likely to lack access to quality early education and therapy services. To meet the early education and therapy needs of these children, PTN must continue to expand access and enhance the early education, therapeutic, and support services available to children and families in LA County.

Why is this project important to the work of your organization?

At PTN, we believe every child, regardless of their socioeconomic status or diagnosis, can achieve their fullest potential. Yet, timing is critical. During the early years of life, more than 1 million new neural connections are formed every second. These connections build the foundation for lifelong learning, behavior, and health. When delays are identified early and families have access to early education and therapy services, the challenges these children face can be mitigated, and in some cases, overcome. Because of this incredible impact, early education is at the core of what we do. Nearly 60% of our clients are under age 5. Thus, expanding and enhancing early education is vital to our mission and those we exist to serve. We are uniquely equipped with an experienced, multi-disciplinary team of licensed early childhood educators and therapists, state-of-the-art facilities, and most importantly, more than 20 years of high- quality services with demonstrated outcomes.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?

1,140
Direct impact
2,200
Indirect impact

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

PTN’s early education programs help mitigate challenges children face, resulting in long-term cost savings for the broader community. In addition, these programs are augmented with Parent Support and Integration activities that directly advance LA2050’s CONNECT metrics. They provide families with opportunities to interact and connect with one another at regular support groups, respite events, and educational workshops. They also provide community-based social activities held at local parks, museums, and children’s activity centers. These initiatives are key to PTN’s family-centered, holistic approach and extend our impact far beyond the walls of the clinic—truly helping children, families and communities reach their fullest potential.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.

PTN’s vision of success for this project is twofold: expand access and increase enrollment in early education programs for young children with and at-risk for developmental delays; and provide parents/caregivers with the knowledge, tools, and resources they need to help their children reach their fullest potential.

The success of the project will be measured by tracking progress against the following objectives and outcomes:

  1. Enroll up to 400 children with moderate to severe delays in Leaps & Bounds early intervention programming, with 90% of participants demonstrating improvements in speech, language, physical, cognitive, social/emotional and motor skills upon completion of the program;
  2. Enroll up to 40 children in Early Head Start (EHS) center-based programming, observing 100% of children to evaluate, assess, refer, and/or provide no-cost assessments and therapeutic interventions as needed;
  3. Enroll up to 50 children with or at-risk for autism in Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) early intervention programming, with 90% of participants demonstrating improvements in intellectual ability and behavior upon program completion; and
  4. Host a minimum of 100 Parent Support, Education and Community Integration activities for approximately 2,000 children/caregiver attendees with 90% of attendees expressing a greater understanding of their child’s strengths and needs and greater knowledge of resources and support systems and 90% reporting that they made beneficial connections with other parents/caregivers.

Which of the learn metrics will your submission impact?​

  • Early education enrollment

Are there any other LA2050 goal categories that your proposal will impact?

  • LA is the best place to CONNECT

Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?

  • Access to the LA2050 community