Our program staff  share with us stories of what it’s like to work with children who have special needs. A new monthly installment.

“We had a little boy last year, a three-year-old adopted from a Chinese orphanage by an American family. Due to cerebral palsy affecting his leg and arm, his range of motion is very limited. He also suffers from hydrocephalus, which is extra fluid on the brain. He was having his medical problems managed but he was also experiencing some speech delays. He couldn’t get his mouth to say what his mind thought. He really took to the structure of the program; especially the different theming of each week’s classes.


Over that semester he just blossomed. Some of that had to do with being in this environment all day long. With so many inputs, he could finally make sense of things and start putting words and sentences together. Other kindergartens couldn’t support his needs properly, and if he stayed home with his mom he wouldn’t be in such an enriched environment. That’s what makes our program-room unique. We are constantly getting advice from our therapists on ways that every single day we can work to build those gaps that our children have. It was like a textbook watching him improve, to the point where when he moved back to the US in June and was accepted in a typical preschool, the teachers said his fine motor skills were even advanced for his age!

In my mind, he’s the perfect example of the importance of early intervention. He’s three years old, and after six months at our program, he joined a mainstream school. He didn’t need a lot of years, he needed intense attention while his neural pathways were still developing, setting up future thought patterns. I would say thirty to forty percent of kids we see in early intervention are not here to stay; it’s a stop in the road. And that’s exactly what we want.”

Robin Shepard

Robin Shepard

Program Leader

A lot of the kids in her group join ELG for a short period of time and then join a mainstream school. The intensive support they receive in our program makes it possible for them to “catch up” developmentally and acquire the learning skills needed to succeed in a regular environment.


Founded in Shanghai, 2006

At The Essential Learning Group, we have a full-time Early Intervention Program for toddlers exhibiting special needs. Contact Us Now