Beginning from birth there is substantial support for families who have a child with developmental delays or chronic diseases. South Sound Parent to Parent (SSP2P) continues to expand and fine-tune its many programs to offer comprehensive support to all family members. The need in our community continues to grow, and this dedicated agency is growing its team to accommodate the complicated needs of these people.

a family looks at a fog fountain
Early Intervention programs with children from three to birth make a significant difference on their development moving forward. South Sound Parent to Parent provides these services. Photo courtesy: South Sound Parent to Parent

Early Support Program: Birth to Three Years of Age

South Sound Parent to Parent is the providing agency for infants and toddlers in Thurston, Mason and Grays Harbor counties. Therapy intervention during the first three years provides the best chance for positive outcomes as the child grows up. Needs may include addressing a speech or hearing impairment. The family may require an autism diagnosis and setting up related services. The professional services are tailored to the specific concerns of each family.

The resource coordination by SSP2P is helpful for parents who may not be aware of what is available in this area. Services are family-oriented to help all members of the family understand and work with the needs of the child. The team’s evidence-based practices include things like natural learning environments and caregiver coaching.

Shannon Wilcox is the agency’s deputy director. With an increased demand for services, more professionals have been hired. “There are four regional teams. We have therapists for speech, physical and occupational therapies, special instruction teachers, mental health specialists, and family resources coordinators, as well as the necessary administrative assistance,” she explains. The organization is also partnering with local colleges to provide student internships in both speech and physical therapy studies. “They will have real-world experiences,” adds Shannon.

In our community there are vulnerable children with chronic illness, drug exposure in utero, Downs syndrome, and a spectrum of delays and disabilities. Referrals from physicians and social workers have increased. “You don’t have to have a doctor’s referral, says South Sound Parent to Parent Executive Director Kim Smith. “We’ve seen an increase in self-referrals. We want people to know that is a great way to enter our program.” It’s easy to do, just complete the online form.

Sometimes people are referred for one reason, but other issues surface as the family enters the evaluation by the team. SSP2P evaluates all children in a holistic manner to cover all areas of development. “We address the whole child and support the family,” says Kim.

Sometimes parents just want to know “Is my child on track?” “We want people to feel more successful as a family,” says Shannon. “We talk together as a team through weekly meetings to discuss the children in our program. We want families to know they have the full team behind them.” Families can find answers and guidance at South Sound Parent to Parent.

two kids sit on a counter
The whole family is supported with on-going programs at South Sound Parent to Parent. That includes the siblings. Photo courtesy: South Sound Parent to Parent

Helping Parent Program at South Sound Parent to Parent is for the Whole Family

The Helping Parent Program keeps families involved after their child passes his or her 3rd birthday. Programs are available in Thurston, Mason and Kitsap counties. Because the Helping Parent is within South Sound Parent to Parent, people already know the children and their families from the Early Intervention, and it is a smooth integration into the next program. Sometimes people enter with the Early Support Program but overlap with the Helping Parent, which is fine. “We are all right here,” says Helping Parent and Transition Program Director Sylvia Davenport.

The Helping Parent Program looks out for the entire family. Throughout the year family activities are planned. A recent outing was to Skateland, where the whole venue was rented. People may not realize, but when a child has a disability or other major concern, such outings can simply disappear. SSP2P events are geared to the challenges, such as sensory friendly options. The child and siblings have a great time, and parents can have fun, too.

This program offers various educational opportunities as well. There are mom-to-mom and dad-to-dad support groups. Sib Shops are designed for the brothers and sisters. Another option in Thurston County is called Brick-to-Brick, which are small groups where youth with challenges can make friends and learn social and emotional skills. Shelton’s programs are bilingual.

a family poses for a photo
South Sound Parent to Parent supports families with children who have special needs. The bilingual programs are helpful for many. Photo courtesy: South Sound Parent to Parent

“We are lucky to have this set-up,” says Kim, who understands the value of having continuity of services.

“It’s a huge family,” says Sylvia, who has been involved with many people over the years. She is especially grateful for the many parents who come back to the agency and volunteer to support others along the path they know well.

You will find more information and the ability to do a self-referral on the South Sound Parent to Parent website. Thank you, SSP2P for keeping up with the growing needs of our community. It strives to serve those in our area who are under-represented or underserved, and the agency also welcomes any parent with concerns.

Visit and subscribe to South Sound Parent to Parent’s Facebook, YouTube Channel, and Instagram.

South Sound Parent to Parent
2801 Caton Way SW, Olympia


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