Interdisciplinary Training for Guam Early Interventionists

Interdisciplinary Pre-Service Preparation
CHLA Consultant Dr. Irina Zamora (left) responds to a question from one of the parents during the evening session, with her colleagues sitting next to her: C. Blake French, CHLA Speech Pathologist, and Dr. Shelby Surfas, Occupational Therapist.
Guam early Intervention and preschool providers take a team photo with the CHLA Consultants.

In partnership with the University of Southern California, University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (USC-UCEDD) at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), Guam CEDDERS facilitated a four-day interdisciplinary training conducted by three CHLA consultants: Irina Zamora, Psy.D., Shelby Surfas, OTD, and C. Blake French, M.S., CCC-SLP.  Thirty early intervention and preschool providers from the Guam Department of Education and Department of Public Health and Social Services attended the four-day training on December 4-7 at the University of Guam School of Business Building Room 129.  The purpose for the training was to build capacity of early interventionists (EI) on the early identification and delivery of services for young children with developmental delays.  The interdisciplinary training curriculum was designed to increase the knowledge of EI providers in the following topical areas: 1) social-emotional development of young children; 2) language development of children with disabilities; 3) strategies to address language delays in young children; red flags for autism; 4) partnering with parents when providing early intervention services; 5) sensory differences in young children; 6) feeding challenges and feeding therapy; and 7) understanding and addressing the impact of trauma in children with disabilities.  The training curriculum was delivered within the Guam EI program’s coaching model and framework for implementation and sustainability, which included “live practice” of the strategies reviewed with young children and their families.  In addition, the CHLA consultants facilitated an evening dialogue session with nine parents of children with developmental delays.  The session, “Supporting Your Child in Early Intervention,” provided an opportunity for parents to share their successes, challenges, and to ask questions of other parents and the CHLA consultants.  At the end, one parent remarked how she learned so much from listening to other parents share their stories.