Early intervention changes a whole family’s lives.
Meet the Snedecor Family
Cassie Snedecor was a second grade teacher when her son, Jackson, was born in 2006. She was introduced to early intervention when he turned 18 months old and began physical, occupational, speech and developmental therapy for autism. As three of Cassie’s four children benefitted from early intervention services, she became such a believer that she switched careers to work in the field.
Her youngest child, Lena, who is almost 2, was born with a rare genetic disorder and struggles with epilepsy, seizures and significant cognitive, speech and motor delays. “She’s now getting quite a bit of therapy through early intervention,” Cassie explains. “Nutrition, vision, developmental, speech, occupational and physical therapies.”
Lena’s genetic mutation, STXBP1, is so rare that there are fewer than 200 documented cases worldwide. The family is glad to have as much support as possible. “Lena has made more visual progress in six months than most kids with her disabilities make in two and a half years,” Cassie says. “She’s now eating from a spoon and drinking from a sippy cup, which are both things she couldn’t have done without early intervention. We still have a long way to go, but without these therapies, I don’t know how we’d get there.”
While Cassie’s husband, Matt, is still a teacher, Cassie found a new career a couple of years ago as an evaluator for an early intervention program. “I put all my years of experience as a parent to work for me,” Cassie says. “I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”
Cassie sees firsthand the power early intervention gives families. “Early intervention provides knowledge, support and initiative,” she explains. “Families want to help their children, but don’t know how. Without these services, kids would fall through the cracks.
“Early intervention is invaluable,” Cassie says of the service funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. “Not only does it need to be funded, it needs to be expanded and promoted so more people can access it. It’s an outstanding program that helps thousands of kids. And the truth is, the earlier you can help children who need it, the better chance they have.”