Program offered summer only
All About Me
Toddlers in All About Me groups come to The Bell Center either twice or four times a week. Each toddler is assigned a specific volunteer who provides one-on-one direction as the toddler works on his or her individual goals. Led by a professional team which includes a special education teacher, a speech/language pathologist, physical therapist and an occupational therapist. All About Me groups have circle time with stories and songs, snack time to concentrate on feeding and language skills, group art projects and time for work on individual gross and fine motor skills. All About Me groups also have a weekly creative movement class led by Children’s Dance Foundation and every All About Me group participates in animal assisted therapy with Hand in Paw.
Infants come to The Bell Center twice a week for an hour at a time and receive services in a one-on-one format with members of their transdisciplinary teah which includes an early childhood special education teacher, speeh/language pathologist, occupational therapist and physical therapist. Because it is critical for parents to become active partners in their children’s learning, parents and other family members are encouraged to stay during the session to receive training so that they are able to continue essential therapies at home.
A separate, high risk infant therapy room is available to infants whose premature birth and/or medical conditions put them at increased risk to illness. While parents are encouraged to sit in on the session for training purposes, other family members are requested to stay in a nearby waiting area to reduce needless exposure to the medically fragile child.
Designed to aidchildren with feeding challenges that can’t be fully addressed in other Bell Center programs. Early Eaters works toward identifying the child’s specific feeding challenge. Then appropriate interventions, as determined by the Early Eaters nutritionist and occupational therapist, can be included in the child’s Bell Center program while the Early Eaters staff collaborates with the family in appropriate interventions at home.
Toddlers in Explore Every Day participate in center-based activities that are designed to promote independence in a structured therapeutic environment. A team of therapists lead children, and their typically developing “friends” through preschool routines and activities. Activities are modified accordingly to provide opportunities for children to work on individual therapeutic goals while becoming more independent in a preschool environment.
Again, the class is led by an early childhood special education teacher, speech/language pathologist, occupational therapist and physical therapist.
Friends are an important part of the Explore Every Day, My Friends and Kindermusik programs at The Bell Center. The latest early intervention research shows that when children with special needs and typically developing children are integrated in preschool settings, both benefit from the learning experience. Friends serve as social language role models, as peer helpers and also have the opportunity to grow and learn from the preschool experience provided by our highly qualified teachers and therapists. Program times and age requirements vary from school year to shool year.
Please click here for Friend Information.
Please click here for Friends Application.
The core belief of the Kindermusik approach is that all children are musical and that the parent is the child’s most important teacher. Every class offers a delightful mix of songs and activities, while each lesson is also thoughtfully designed to nurture specific learning and developmental goals. Kindermusik meets once a week for one hour and parents accompany their child to this class lead by a Bell Center staff member that is also a certified Kindermusik instructor. A team of Bell Center therapists who also participate in the class, ensuring that children target their therapy goals throughout each activity.
- Kindermusik Village, 0-18 months
- Kindermusik Our Time, 19 months-3 years
Learn to Learn
Offered during the summer months, Lear to Learn gives parents the opportunit to attens small groups with their children which are led by a team of Bell Center professionals. The parents help set the tone of the sessions by prioritizing the goals they want to work with their child to acheive. The parents then attend sessions with their childres and provide the hands-on assistance for their children under the direction of the teacher. Parents learn how to help their children learn through this unique program.
Children with special needs grow and flourish in group settings, learning from their peers, just as their typical counterparts do. For that reason, as an infant grows toward toddler-hood, the child is transitioned into the group format he or she will likely experience in later preschool and elementary school years. In Little Leaps, small groups of five to six children meet for one hour twice a week and receive early intervention services in a one-on-one setting with members of their professional team.
This program is designed for children with sensory, social and communication challenges. The small My Friends group has one-to-two ratio of peer model children to children with challenges. Some but not all children who participate in the program have a diagnosis of Autism. A Bell Center team including an early childhood special education teacher, speech/language pathologist, physical therapist and an occupational therapist work with the children to address their early intervention needs. The class meets for 2 hours, four days a week and through adapted typical preschool activities children are challenged to successfully participate in classroom routines, interact with peers and tolerate various sensory experiences. The team uses a variety of developmentally appropriate practices to target the children’s therapy goals and also collaborates with other professionals in the community that are helping families address their child’s challenges. Parents have the opportunity to observe their child’s class and the team of professionals meets with the family regularly to update and provide support.
Out and About Playgroup
Join a team of therapists once a week for an hour and fifteen minutes of guided play that target your child’s therapy goals in a therapeutic playgroup. The playgroup will meet at a variety of locations in Birmingham area and offer families the opportunity to meet and get to know other Bell Center families. Previously offered during the summer months this program was so successful we are now offering it to toddlers during the school year. Parents should plan on attending playgroup with their child.
Sensory and Skill Group
Pre-literacy skills and a variety of sensory experiences will be the focus of this one hour and thirty minute class that meets once a week. Small group instruction will be based on the preschool Hand Writing Without Tears curriculum and will also include movement and sensory activities. Parents will be given an informational hand out each week regarding the carryover of skills into the home environment. There are prerequisites for participating in this program; please meet with your child’s team to determine if this program is developmentally appropriate for your child.
Stay and Say Playgroup
Join a team of therapists once a week for an hour and a half of guided play and conversations on topics related to raising a child with special needs. The session will begin with playtime led by a team of therapists that targets individual therapeutic goals. After 45 minutes, parents will break away with one therapist and/or speaker to engage in a discussion on predetermined topics. We will provide the necessary staff to carefully watch over the children as they continue to participate in play activities. Parents participating are encouraged to suggest topics. We believe that, as parents, you are the best experts about caring for your own children. Sharing your experiences will be helpful to other parents. Topics for discussion might include proper diet and feeding, discipline, toilet training etc.
This transitional program is designed to prepare graduates for their future preschool placement. Families will have the opportunity to participate three days per week. A team of therapists will lead center- based activities designed to promote independence in a structured therapeutic environment. Typical preschool routines and activities will be modified accordingly to provide opportunities for children to continue to work on individual therapeutic goals in all areas of development while becoming more independent in a preschool environment. For this reason, one-to-one instruction will not be offered in the Summer Steps program.