Families of infants and young children with special needs living on the greater Eastside have been blessed since 1962 to have Kindering located in Bellevue. Since staring in 1962, the program has grown into the largest early intervention center in the Northwest.
However, with the number of young children needing early intervention in the past five years doubling, Kindering saw the need to expand. They responded by opening a second location in early March in Bothell’s North Creek business park.
Kindering serves children with developmental delays or disabilities caused by autism, chromosomal abnormalities, cerebral palsy, vision impairment, complex complications of prematurity, or abuse and neglect.
The nonprofit center provides a three-pronged approach to help its youngest clients: early intervention, family support services, and outreach and consultation services.
Kindering’s early intervention for children uses occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech and language therapy, preschool and special education, with special programs for children with autism spectrum disorders. Their Stepping Stones Toddler Preschool is for children 22 months to three years old and is open to children of all abilities.
Family support services include a fathers’ network, moms’ circle, sibling support groups, family therapy, and parent education.
Their outreach and consultation services are available for home care providers, foster homes, toddlers at risk for delays, homeless families, and Spanish-speaking families.
In addition to the variety of services offered for children three and younger, Kindering is finally able to relaunch their KidsClinic at their Bothell center, a private therapy program for children up through age 10.
“Like other school districts we partner with, the Northshore School District is a great partner in serving the broader community. We work together to help make seamless transitions for students from Kindering to schools. Their staff is keenly involved in evaluations, service and graduations, [and in] ensuring families have the best experience,” Morton, Kindering’s development director, wrote by email.
Besides the Northshore School District, Kindering works with the Bellevue, Issaquah, Renton, Lake Washington, and Mercer Island school districts. According to the Kindering website, the districts provide limited funding towards early intervention services Kindering provides.
Kindering also receives limited funding from the state and federal government, along with donations from individuals, foundations and United Way.
According to a spokesperson with the Northshore School District, the district contracts with Kindering to provide special education services for children birth to two years old. They have been contracting with Kindering’s Bellevue location for years, and will continue to do so with the new Bothell center.
Northshore School District also contracts for services with Little Red Schoolhouse in Everett, Listen and Talk in Seattle, and Wonderland Developmental Center in Shoreline.
Currently, Kindering Bothell serves 100 children, with numbers growing each week, accordingto Morton. “We will, ultimately, serve 1,000 children and their families out of the Bothell campus,” she wrote, adding that more than 4,500 children with special needs and their families will be served by Kindering through their Bothell and Bellevue locations.
The Bothell site was selected for several reasons, according to Morton. First, the site is conveniently located just off I-405, providing easy access to families from North King County and South Snohomish County.
Secondly, the North Creek location shares a site with Pediatric Associates and Bright Horizons, a preschool and childcare facility, that provides Kindering with great opportunities for outreach, increased consultation, and creates a pediatric campus for families, Morton wrote.
And, the site helped alleviate demands on their Bellevue location while allowing Kindering to collaborate with the Northshore School District and Snohomish County leaders, who were thrilled to have Kindering’s services locally available for their students and families, Morton wrote.
For more information, call Kindering (425) 747-4004, or visit their website www.kindering.org.