Early intervention workers help kids under three who have disabilities

Marla Nef (right) and Janel Preston believe better professional development means better outcomes for young children and their families.

Marla Nef and Janel Preston spent two years helping to revive the Utah chapter of the Council for Exceptional Children’s Division of Early Childhood, hoping to bring better professional development to early intervention workers all over the state, including those on the Utah State University campus.

Nef and Preston work at Up to 3, within the USU Center for Person With Disabilities, and Nef explains their work.

“Up to 3 is one of the 15 early intervention programs throughout Utah that help parents and families of children under three with a disability or a delay,” Nef said. “And we evaluate kiddos to see if their development needs some help, coach parents on how to help their children catch up and help their interactions and their performance with their families, so that their lives are better.”

By growing Utah’s membership in the Division of Early Childhood, Nef and Preston hope it strengthens the knowledge of practitioners and families, which should mean better outcomes for the children.

Nef, Up to 3’s program coordinator, is the DEC chapter’s president-elect. Preston, an autism specialist, is the chapter’s vice president.

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