Project Prints offers early intervention innovative therapies, family interaction

Published 3:53 pm Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Somewhere around town, on any given Friday, a group of children gather with their parents. Sometimes they meet at the park for fun with bubbles or climbing. Sometimes they huddle together on the floor of the Crosby Memorial Library’s meeting room for a puppet show. The children laugh and play like any other, but perhaps it is just a little bit quieter than it should be for a bunch of two year olds. Or maybe they are a little more reserved in their movement. This is because they are a part of a program called Project Prints. What is Project Prints?

Simply put, it is an early intervention program for children with developmental delays. For more than twenty years Project Prints, a division of South Mississippi Regional Center, has helped parents find therapy their children need. Founded in the belief that, when these services begin early in the child’s development, delays later in life may be prevented or minimized.

Speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, as well as special instruction and parent education are some of the services offered. One parent said about her son, “He has come so far in the year or so he has been with the program, (Project Prints). He has reached most of his developmental goals except for speech, so we are still working on that. When he started at eighteen months of age, he was underweight, not walking, or talking. Now he runs all over, and can he communicate through signs and some speech. Plus, he’s an eating machine now!”

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These services are available to children ages zero to three, who have been identified as having a developmental delay. Dr. Pamela Baker, from South Mississippi Regional Center stated “Because of the advances in prenatal testing, parents can ask for Project Prints to come and educate them before the child is born.” Most of these services are provided in the home because “the premise is that a child learns best where that child lives.” She said.

Beyond the therapies, a powerful side affect of this organization is the bond that they forge between families. The center organizes weekly playgroups, giving families a chance to meet. Project Prints also hosts family socials and field trips, such as a recent trip to Audubon Zoo. The children — not just those in the program — but siblings as well, really enjoy getting together. Because of these frequent playgroups and socials, families get to know each other, something that would not happen if they just brought their children to an office visit. This has led to friendships, and extra support, something that all parents need, but especially those with delays. For more information call Project Prints at (601) 798-7132.