The Templer Foundation: Erin’s Light; An Early Intervention Program
What Is Erin’s Light?
Erin is a real person. She is the root and inspiration behind every early intervention project around the world. Erin’s Light represents humanity, strength, community, love, global alliance to create real change in countries where early intervention and detection resources are limited. The intervention program is a global initiative that assists families financially and educationally in their communities by empowering parents, guardians, caregivers to spread awareness and change the stigmatization of children with learning or mental disabilities in families who live in rural communities all over the world.
What is Early Intervention?
Early intervention is a range of services that helps children with developmental delays or disabilities. Early intervention focuses on helping children have full, wholesome lives that will enable them to learn the basic and new skills that typically develop during the first few years of life, such as:
- cognitive (thinking ability, learning new skills)
- communication (listening, speaking, hearing)
- physical (walking, crawling)
- social (feelings and building relationships)
- Independent (dressing oneself, lifting on own).
Why Early Intervention?
A child’s early years of development are the most critical and act as the basis for the future gaining of skills. Early identification of a child with a disability or a child who is not developing at a characteristic rate needs intervention. Early detection or intervention services may prevent further delays/deficits and lessen the effects of an existing disability. The Templer Foundation strongly believes that every journey begins with the first step at high quality early intervention services; services that can change a child’s developmental trajectory and improve outcomes for children, families, and communities around the world. In addition, The Templer Foundation has launched Early Intervention programs globally, in efforts to increase the awareness of children and/ or families with disabilities and educate parents on the early detection and path to intervention.
Whose is eligible for early intervention programing?
Any child, infant, toddler or young adult struggling with basic learning is eligible for early intervention.
What does it mean to have a developmental learning disability? If a person is blind, deaf or in a wheelchair, their disability is easy to see. It is NOT the same when they have a developmental learning disability (DLD), which is also sometimes referred to as a general learning disability (GLD).
- Some may behave oddly, but many do not.
- Some cannot walk, but others can.
- Some may look ‘different’ but, some are very good looking.
- Some may display violent behaviors, but most do not.
- Some cannot talk, but many can.
- Some have brain damage, but others do not.
So what do they have to have in common in order to be identified into this category?
Children with a DLD develop at a slower rate than other children; for example, they may be five years old and yet they act more like a two-year old.
Early intervention programs?
Currently, The Templer Foundation is focused in launching programs in underdeveloped countries, specifically those in which child neglect rates are high.
About Epworth, Africa –
Since 2005, The Templer Foundation has launched several Early Intervention programs in Africa. The areas of Harare, Epworth, Metabeleland, Africa. To date, Erin’s Light has touched the lives of nearly 2,000 families with children who struggle with learning disabilities as well as physical.
About Juigalpa, Nicaragua –
Since 2016, The Templer Foundation has launched several Early Intervention programs in Nicaragua. The areas of Juigalpa, Cristo de Jesus and Chontales. To date, Erin’s Light has touched the lives of nearly 1,000 families with children who struggle with learning disabilities as well as physical.
The project’s vision of success:
- Awareness raising and increasing risk perception and knowledge for parents whose child has/ had a diagnosis of disability or those who suspect that something is not quite right. Through networking and collaboration with other implementing partners, this project sought to raise awareness on detecting learning difficulties and intervening early to remedy them.
- Motivating for positive behavior change. The Social and community discussions formed an effective interpersonal communication platform that resulted in enhanced dialogue and debate around early detection using the activities in the guide.
“A mentally challenged child who learns is happier, is more independent and can be part of the community.” – Paul Templer