Service Spotlight: Early Intervention
At Benchmark Human Services (Benchmark), we’re all about connecting people and potential. For the youngest among us, we are involved in all aspects of care to support healthy growth and development. Our early intervention teams include physical therapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, development specialists, and more.
Amy McNiel is a clinical specialist and occupational therapist in our Virginia early intervention program. She’s been with Benchmark for more than six years.
“We really hone in on the coaching model, supporting families where they’re at,” McNiel says. “We help build their confidence and skills, and we prepare families to advocate for their kids.”
The biggest developmental impacts happen before age three when our brains are best suited to learn and grow. Our skilled clinicians work with families in their homes and in the community to help infants and toddlers thrive.
“Seeing families get so excited when their child reaches a major milestone is very rewarding,” says McNiel. “Even week to week, families will reach out and text me to share things they’ve done and found success with.”
For example, McNiel works with one family that has had multiple children in our early intervention program. “None of their kids have ever crawled,” she shares. “They were very delayed. Eventually, the children did get up to walk but never crawled.”
“I had been working with their fourth child, their youngest, on crawling,” McNiel continues. “One day, I received a text from the child’s mom, and it was a video of her kiddo crawling. The mom texted, ‘Oh my gosh! I’m so excited. I’ve never seen one of my kids crawl before!’ It was gratifying, for sure.”
Our early intervention staff strive to offer each other the same support and availability they provide to families.
“We have support almost 24/7,” says McNiel. “As a team, we rely a lot on each other, and we’re very close-knit. I value that.”
Benchmark has 3,400 employees and serves 10,000 children and families across 18 states. From early intervention to mobile crisis response to specialized residential care, Benchmark helps individuals find stability and reach their full potential. Our infant and toddler programs are based in five states, including Connecticut, Colorado, Missouri, Montana, and Virginia.