As part of our focus on the Tree of Hope Campaign this month, we are highlighting our Family Development programs and staff. Meet Nicole Smith, DSC Family Development Director!
Nicole is a native of the Chicago area, she relocated to downstate Illinois to attend school at Eastern Illinois University, where she obtained both her Bachelors and Masters degrees. That’s also where she met her husband, who is from Danville. When they married, they agreed on Champaign as a great place to live, and raise their four children.
Nicole joined DSC in August of 2020. Nicole has over seven years of experience in Early Intervention, and is a Speech Therapist.
As the Director of Family Development, Nicole is responsible for the day-to-day operations of two programs, Parent Wonders and Early Intervention. This includes developmental screenings, parent-child play groups, feeding, speech, play and developmental therapy.
Parent Wonders encompasses DSC’s home visiting program. Among the DSC Family Development team are two, certified lactation consultants, a staff dedicated to developmental screenings, a speech language pathologist specializing in communications/feeding disorders, and DSC is one of the few agencies in the area offering certified PLAY Project therapy, an evidence-based autism intervention therapy.
Nicole has a vision to increase awareness of the services provided by DSC’s Family Development programs. “Many people do not realize the gravity of Parent Wonders home visiting, or how unique it is that DSC has a Developmental Screener on staff. One of the challenges we face, not just at DSC, but as a community is the need for services. There is a shortage of providers. The pandemic has exacerbated this. We’ve been doing more teaming, and collaborating among other providers in the community, as we work toward a common resolution,” said Nicole.
One of Nicole’s favorite quotes is “Be the change you want to see,” by Nelson Mandela. “You can doubt yourself at times, or get imposter syndrome, but I’ve found there are times you just jump in and start.”
Nicole also prioritizes her own family time, along with her husband, and children. Recently, they’ve been getting out to enjoy the holiday lights, which her youngest loves. One of their favorite activities to do while they’re out, is making a stop at Jarling’s Custard Cup.
If you would like more information about our Family Development Program, please call, Nicole Smith at (217) 356-9176, or visit : Family Development