Meet our Early Intervention Ambassadors

What is an Early Intervention Ambassador?

 

Early Intervention (EI) provides free services to children aged 0-36 months with developmental delays. Black and Hispanic children in Brownsville access EI at much lower rates than children citywide.

As the EI Ambassador, Aileen is the point person addressing this racial inequity and ensuring the developmental needs of Black and brown children are fully met. This new role developed in response to community concerns raised by parents and social service providers. Aileen is an employee of United for Brownsville (UB) and Community Solutions and does not work for an EI agency, school, or hospital. Her services are free to any family or agency in Brownsville.

 

For parents and caregivers of young children

 

Aileen is a friendly face to address your concerns about EI and to help you navigate the referral process, which is often confusing and stressful. She can answer questions, help troubleshoot roadblocks, and advocate for you and your child.

Aileen will ensure families have access to free, quality early childhood support that not only develops children’s social and early academic skills but also shapes how children think and feel about learning. We owe it to our children to find a way for all of them to have the strongest start possible.

 

For social, health, and educational service providers

 

It doubles the impact of your work to help parents of infants and toddlers understand their roles in helping young children learn and develop. Aileen’s support in talking with families and navigating the EI system will ensure your clients get the developmental interventions they need when they need them, reducing your workload.

If you already refer to EI but are concerned that some families are not getting the services they need, Aileen can help you with family engagement or liaising with EI agencies and the Bureau of Early Intervention itself. Aileen has a strong track record of meeting families where they are at, operating from a strength based approach and addressing concerns about mental health and related stigma in communities of color from a culturally respectful perspective.

If you do not refer to EI, Aileen can help you understand the referral process and whether it is right for your organization and your clients, or she can make referrals directly and follow up on them doggedly.

 

Why is EI Important?

 

EI matters, especially for the children who are on the losing end of the opportunity and achievement gaps that start in infancy and widen as students get older. Children with developmental delays who receive EI services as early as possible are better able to stay on track and less likely to need special education later on.

Access to EI is also important at the community level and is an issue of racial equity. White children have the highest rates of referral in New York City. Black children in Brownsville are referred to EI 25% less than children citywide and follow through on those referrals 10% less than children throughout NYC. Hispanic children in Brownsville follow through on referrals 25% less than children citywide.

 

What qualifies Aileen for this work?

 

Most importantly, the 21 mothers, fathers, and grandparents from Brownsville on the Family Advisory Board selected Aileen for this unique role. Aileen is a native Brooklynite who completed her undergraduate studies in Communication Disorders and Spanish at SUNY New Paltz. She developed her passion for helping families into a career specialized in Autism Spectrum Disorders. Aileen has witnessed firsthand the communicative challenges presented by young children in preschool settings, as well as the treatment plans used to address them. Her work included supporting children with disabilities in building meaningful relationships, as well as community participation and advocacy. Her experiences awarded her with skills such as patience, empathy, and versatility that are evident in her ability to instill vigor in the families and children she serves. Aileen is comfortable working with families of any background and is a fluent Spanish speaker and intermediate in American Sign Language.