Twenty years ago, a mother needed to return to work but could not fund a childcare center to care for her child with Down syndrome. She started her own and today, SCEIC cares for 82 students, ranging from 13 months to 6 years. One-half of the students are typical children who serve as role models for the remaining developing or physically challenged students.
The mission at SCEIC is to be the community's premier nonprofit center for the support, care and maximum development of young children challenged by disabilities and their typically developing peers, serving also as a leading demonstration site and training center for future educators, nurses and parents.
SCEIC, a Gold Seal accredited program, incorporates state-wide and nationally approved educational, behavioral, social and therapeutic approaches addressing the diverse needs of young children. They experience successes regularly; listening to a child's first words, watching first steps or initiating play. Parents are involved from the beginning; learning new techniques from speech, physical, occupational, hearing and sight therapists. Their low child to adult ratio ranges from 1 adult to 2 or 4 children throughout the day. All this is in preparation for their transition into public school and eventually on independent life in college or vacation.
Though they charge tuition similar to other childcare centers, their expenses are higher because of the quality care and additional supports. Tuition covers 1/3 of the costs per child. They off-set set their expenses with fundraisers, donations and grants. Families from all economic levels attend SCEIC with financial support from the board of director’s and local scholarships.
Their ongoing public awareness campaign educates the community on the importance of early intervention and the positive long term outcomes children and their family's experience when addressed early on. Daily tours are given for community leaders, the public and families who are interested in the group, supporting the group or adding their child to the waiting list. They are active legislatively, addressing funding issues and have developed strong collaborative partnerships with our local school system, university internship and research programs, federally funded Early Steps and Head Start programs, the medical community and local government.
The need for quality programs is great. In 2005 we started a capital campaign to raise 3 million dollars to build a new 15,000 sq. ft. center. The dream will soon become a reality in December 2007. The support of the community has been phenomenal with donated supplies, manpower and money. The new center will afford them the needed room to expand our services.
Their enlarged boundless playground free to the public on the weekends, will include sensory gardens, an aviary, water play and courses to challenge physical, occupational and behavioral needs.
Dreams can come true when community leadership, business involvement and visionary thinkers synergize to make them reality. SCEIC is the result of people who care. All are welcome to come and visit the new facility in February 2008.