Dan Cahill and his daughter, Charlotte.

Early Intervention made all the difference for Lynn family

LYNN — Charlotte Cahill is a well-adjusted, high-performing kindergarten student at Aborn Elementary School in Lynn. She is articulate and has become an expert in an online math program designed to improve students’ basic skills. You would never know this is the same little girl who faced some serious speech delays as a toddler.

“We noticed she was not formulating words,” said Dan Cahill, Charlotte’s father. “We met with our pediatrician, who also had concerns about the speech delay.”

Fortunately for the Cahills, the doctor referred them to Northeast Arc’s Early Intervention North Shore program, which provides speech, occupational and physical therapy, case management, and social work. The services are delivered in the home, with a goal of helping the child overcome any developmental delays. Charlotte was in Early Intervention for a year, until she turned 3. Her services were coordinated by case worker Erin Walsh.

“Not only did they work with Charlotte, they gave us exercises we could do with her,” said Cahill, a state representative and former city councilor.

Charlotte also received speech therapy from Lynn Public Schools from age 3 until she started kindergarten, and she attended Busy Bee Nursery School in Lynn. “When she started kindergarten, the teacher didn’t even know what she went through; we had to tell her,” Cahill said.

All the research points to the importance of doing exactly what the name of the program indicates: intervening at an early age with children who have or are at risk for developmental delays.

“I think it’s the best program in the country,” Cahill said. Early Intervention is available to all Massachusetts children under age 3, regardless of financial situation. “Getting it early is the key. If you need it, you get it. And there’s absolutely no stigma attached to it.”

Charlotte likes to dance, play soccer, and do arts and crafts. She will add modeling to her list of accomplishments on May 3 when she and her father walk the runway at Northeast Arc’s Evening of Changing Lives dinner and fashion show at the Seaport Hotel in Boston.

Dan and his wife, Angela, who also have a son, 4-year-old William, are grateful for the important role Northeast Arc played in Charlotte’s development.

“Arc really made a difference,” he said. “We love the program and we have recommended it to others.”

Northeast Arc EI North Shore has locations at 300 Lynnway, Lynn, and 149 Sylvan St., Danvers.

For more information call 978-774-7570.

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