About 76 percent of families in Topeka Public Schools live below the poverty line, an increase of 11 percent in just a few years. Along with this change has been an increase in the number of young children who need early intervention services so they can come to school prepared to learn. However, many families weren’t taking advantage of the district’s preschool services because they had difficulty getting transportation to the centers.
Understanding how important early intervention is, especially with children from disadvantaged families, the school district sought to break the transportation barrier with Tot SPOT. With the school board’s blessing, employees repurposed and transformed a “retired” van into a child-friendly, primary colored, polka-dotted mobile therapy unit. The van does more than catch a person’s attention; it delivers speech/language, physical, and occupational therapy, and early childhood services.
Tot SPOT helps families overcome transportation issues and it increased student attendance. Today, the district’s speech and language department serves almost 500 preschoolers at 78 sites! As well as serving the children, Tot SPOT helps build relationships between parents and teachers, and that is great for the kids too.