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Making EI Visits in the Snow

You’re back at work and facing a daunting task…making up all the visits missed on the previous two snow days. Three of your house snowfamilies live on small back roads that probably won’t see a plow for days. Two others love the snow so you can expect that they’ll want to you to come ready to build a snowman. You also have an assessment to make up, which means you need to touch base with the other team members to coordinate schedules, but they work for a private agency that isn’t back in the office yet. Sigh…lots to manage, all because of the weather.

Tips for EI Visits after a Snow Storm

Many of you here in Virginia are in the midst of digging out from under an impressive snow storm. For some of you, this is the most snow you’ve seen in years (almost 3 feet in more northern parts of the state!). For others, snow is just a part of life this time of year so this snow storm is no big deal. I’m lucky – where I live in Virginia rarely sees any substantial snow, which is fine by me. When snow falls, it can really disrupt life as an early interventionist. It can mean missed days at work, make up visits, and dangerous drives to intervention visits. How do you manage when recovering from weather like this? Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you carry on!

Clean ALL of the snow off of your car before you leave, including the hood. This also keeps others on the road safe. Don’t think ice flying off of cars is a danger? Watch the first 6 seconds of this video: Ice Sheet Destroys Windshield

Keep a bag of kitty liter in your car. You can use it for traction if your tires get stuck in a snowy driveway. Another great idea: you can also use your car’s floor mats for traction too. (Thanks to Stacie at the ITC of Staunton-Waynesboro for this one!)

Call each family before heading out the door. Make sure their road is plowed, there is somewhere for you to park, and that they still want the visit.

Offer the family a make up visit if you have to cancel. According to the I&TCVA Practice Manual, “sessions cancelled by the provider (including those cancelled due to severe weather) and sessions that fall on holidays must be made up, unless the family states that they do not wish to make up the missed session.” Be sure to offer the family the option to make up a visit. If they decline, document their preference in the record. Remember that visits can be made up either by scheduling an extra visit or by adding time to another visit. For example, you can add 15 min to the next three visits to make up the 45-min visit that was missed, if this is okay with the family.

Don’t insist on driving to visits if your agency says you’re grounded. Some agencies follow school schedules, so if the schools are closed, there will be no home visiting. Others make the decision for their own staff based on road conditions and other safety factors. Follow the advice of your supervisor. If you go out and something happens – like you get stuck or worse, get in an accident – your agency may not be willing or able to provide assistance.

Get out and play in the snow! Dress appropriately so that if you do make a visit, you’re prepared to take advantage of the natural learning opportunities for the child that are presented out in the snow. Join the family outside, build a snowman, make a snow angel. Enjoy the fun because it’ll be melted before you know it!

What are your best tips for managing early intervention visits in the snow?

Share your ideas below!

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For more info, visit:

Guidance for making up visits: I&TCVA Practice Manual: Chapter 8 – IFSP Implementation and Review (pgs 8-9)

Safe Winter Driving Tips

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4 Comments to “Making EI Visits in the Snow”

  1. Watch Your Steps on Icy Sidewalks!
    Walking to and from your car after so much snow requires special attention to avoid slipping and falling. Hopefully, you will remain safe in getting around. It is always wise to exercise caution when walking in these conditions. Slow down and take smaller steps, focus your attention on walking, wear rubber soles that have good traction.

  2. Being from Vermont and doing many home visits in the winter here is what I think is essential in your vehicle, make sure your car is in proper working order in the winter, shovel, extra blankets, flares, cell phone charge, extra mittens/hat,things to eat like granola bars, nuts and bottle water, kitty litter, let your staff where you going and give a call once visit is complete and heading back to the office. Dress warmly and professional with sensible shoes /boots who knows if you may have to shovel out. Once at the visit lots of opportunities for the whole family to work on those goals and have fun.

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