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What is Developmental Therapy?

We interviewed Megan Downs, who is a credentialed Developmental Therapist at Marcfirst Pediatric Therapy to learn more about her role. Megan has worked at Marcfirst for 14 years and holds a master's degree in Early Childhood Special Education. Recently, she has been promoted as the Director of Developmental Therapy. We wanted to learn more from her about why development therapy is vital to children in order to have a healthy head start in life.


Megan Downs, Director of
Developmental Therapy at Marcfirst


If you have questions about the support Marcfirst Pediatric Therapy provides, please email [email protected] or call (309) 452-0069.


What is developmental therapy?

A credentialed developmental therapist in Illinois is similar to a teacher for global child development but specifically works with children ages birth to three who have a developmental delay or disability. 

  1. I provide global evaluations that directly assess five areas of development – adaptive, social, communication, physical and cognitive. 
  2. I then use that information to help create a plan for children to meet goals, based on their family’s concerns and needs. 
  3. In therapy, I educate and coach parents to help them make changes and carry over intervention strategies in their activities of daily living and to prepare parents for their child’s growth and development. 


What age does a child begin developmental therapy?

At anytime between ages birth to three.  After their third birthday, children are no longer eligible for Early Intervention and can be eligible for similar services within their school district.


Why is developmental therapy important?

A parent is their child’s first teacher. Sometimes parents need some support in how to do that, specifically when a child has a developmental delay or disability. Developmental therapy gives parents the education, strategies, and resources they need in order help their children reach their potential in their overall development.


What are the benefits of developmental therapy?

The benefit of developmental therapy is that I look at their overall development and can help support any area of development, not just one. Child development is fluid and every area impacts the others.  Through developmental therapy, parents learn how to provide fun playtime activities to support their child’s full growth and development.  


How does developmental therapy set-up a child for success?

The growth and development in the first three years is the most dramatic and rapidly changing period of human development.  Research strongly shows that the earlier they start, the further they will go.  By providing intervention early, we may prevent the need for therapy later. 


What are you excited about in your new role?

I’m so excited to be a part of the growth and development of Marcfirst Pediatric Therapy.  I’m also looking forward to engaging with other local programs through our community connections.


Connect With Us

If you have questions about the support Marcfirst Pediatric Therapy provides, please email [email protected] or call (309) 452-0069.

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