The Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services vvv

Early Intervention 2007 Award Recipients

Welcome PictureEarly Intervention Family Member Recipient

Rick Beaman’s contributions to the field of early intervention have spanned a period of more than 10 years. His involvement started when his grandson was enrolled in Prince William County’s PIE program and he agreed to serve on the local interagency coordinating council. During those 10+ years, he has been actively involved in monthly parent meetings to support and encourage new families as they access Part C services and has been a strong advocate at the local level for early intervention. He has made presentations at local board meetings and public hearing events and also attended meetings in support of other families or the local system manager who were speaking on behalf of early intervention.

Mr. Beaman has served as Council Co-Chair for 3 terms over the many years on the local council.

He is skilled at communicating with parents and professionals alike and has earned a level of respect that provides a uniting influence to the council. He readily participates in all areas from reviewing policies and procedures to sharing articles and books that may be of interest to other parents and professionals. His interest and activities related to early intervention have led to other leadership roles as well. Most recently, Mr. Beaman was appointed to serve on the Virginia Interagency Coordinating Council and was appointed by President George Bush to the Committee for Purchase from People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled. Mr. Beaman’s ongoing commitment to early intervention and disability services and his many hours of service (often requiring use of leave time from work) deserve special appreciation and recognition. Those who supported his nomination said, “He is extremely active from policy level to individual level. He takes things beyond his own situation.”

Welcome PictureEarly Interventionist of the Year Award

Ms. Cara Coffman
Cara has 16 years of experience in child development by way of directing programs, conducting research, and serving families. She brings innovation, organization, leadership, compassion and great communication skills to her job.

Cara’s love for children and intuitive attention to their needs creates an atmosphere that fosters increased parent involvement. Cara gently does not accept “no” as an answer. She is consistently rescheduling appointments, finding families and inching her way into their home with an assertiveness that is sometimes comical. Cara sees more patients in a week than any infant educator in our area (more than 20 per week). She is passionate that children receive the services they need.

This year when Richmond needed a great number of evaluations done before December 1st, she stayed late and rescheduled patients to work with this office to help meet this need.

Cara takes a vested interest in what Infant & Toddler Connection of Virginia and their partners are doing. These include attending/volunteering at the:
• Infant & Toddler Connection of Richmond Council Meetings
• Early Intervention Interest Group
• Partnership’s presentation at the Byrd Theatre
• Magic Behavior Training
• Feria de la Oportunidad employment/resource fair on behalf of Infant & Toddler Connection of Richmond

She also:
• Secured a book distribution scholarship for Richmond Region Reads (an initiative of the Richmond Chamber of Commerce)
• Submitted request and awarded a scholarship from CMoR Open Doors Open Minds program so that Part C could attend the Children’s Museum monthly at no cost to the families.
• Provided daycare screenings on an as needed basis to at least 5 community daycares to promote child find efforts.

Those who supported the nominee said, “She is very approachable with families. She is down to earth and parents have no problem talking to her or voicing their concerns. She listens to what families say and gives them information in a way that they can understand.”

Welcome Picture Early Intervention Leadership Award

Jill Donaldson’s indefatigable commitment to early intervention is evidenced by her more than thirty years dedication to infant and children’s services. As a Speech Language Pathologist, she presently serves as the Coordinator for the Parent Education - Infant Development Program of the Rappahannock Area Community Services Board. In this capacity, she not only manages a program of eleven staff serving more than 350 children each year, she also provides direct services to assist families in meeting their IFSP goals. She has helped mold Virginia’s early intervention system by devoting the last 20 years to its youngest citizens through her involvement at the state, regional and local levels.

Under Jill’s leadership, RACSB’s early intervention program has flourished. In Fiscal Year 2005, the PE-ID program provided physical, occupational, and speech therapies, as well as special education and service coordination, to 371 infants and toddlers with developmental delays, with 130 of those students transitioning to school or home-based programs following graduation from the program last year.

Jill is sensitive to the child as an integral part of the family unit and is dedicated to the parent training model. She promotes and demonstrates incorporation of all developmental domains into parent training sessions in her role as service provider, and guides families through transition in her role as service coordinator. She seeks out advanced certifications and training as a Speech Language Pathologist. In addition to oral-motor and feeding intervention strategies and language development, she has been an active participant in seminars on medical issues, NDT, autism, and the provision of services in the natural environment.

Jill’s knowledge of child development is highly regarded among the early intervention community. In 1992, she contributed to Stephanie Parks’ Administration and Reference Manual for Inside HELP Strands, a developmental assessment booklet assisting professionals in their planning of early intervention objectives. More recently she contributed to the Help… At Home, 2d Edition 2006. Jill is an integral part of the early intervention system in the Rappahannock Area, serving on the Interagency Coordinating Council. Through the ICC, she builds strong relationships with the partnering organizations in our community, fostering referrals to and from the early intervention system, coordinating child find opportunities, and ensuring smooth transitions for families leaving early intervention.

Jill Donaldson’s knowledge and enthusiasm for early intervention services is appreciated not only by her colleagues, but for the hundreds of children and families in our community who have benefited from her leadership.

Of this nominee, references said, “She is a very polished and experienced pro who has been doing this for a long time. She is respected at the highest level by staff as well as other early intervention professionals in the community. A parent remarked, “She was able to give me enough information to empower us to follow through ourselves.”

Welcome Picture

EI Award Recipients and Colleagues that Nominated Them

(From left) Linda Hutton, Rick Beaman, Alison Standring (who nominated Jill Donaldson), Cara Coffman, and Lisa Cox

 For Comments or Questions Concerning this Web site, contact the Webmaster