Every day, we get feedback about the impact our programs are having on the lives of those in our community. We offer those stories here.
Sebastian’s family was looking for answers. They had been struggling to understand Sebastian’s behavior and language difficulties. At age 2.5, Sebastian was having trouble sustaining attention for more than a few minutes, and was easily frustrated, in addition to using very few words. Sebastian’s mother, Anita, was concerned and couldn’t understand what was happening to her sweet boy. After receiving a speech evaluation, the private agency that made the assessment concluded that Sebastian’s language skills were not delayed enough to qualify for services. Anita felt lost and didn’t know what else to do to help her son. Then, Sebastian was referred to the Crece Conmigo (Grow With Me) Program at the Center for Children and Families by a UTD student who assists with our program. When Anita learned that the program offers developmental screenings and helps families get connected to services, she made an appointment. At the screening, Anita learned that Sebastian had a significant delay in his communication skills. He had very limited vocabulary and had difficulty answering simple questions. When Anita shared her concerns about Sebastian’s behavior, the program's bilingual developmental specialist told her that children who do not have the words to express themselves or have difficulties understanding what others say often get frustrated, seem distracted and can have behavioral difficulties. In many cases, when the child overcomes their communication challenges, these behaviors tend to diminish or disappear. When Anita heard this, she felt relief. She didn’t have a “bad child,” but he needed the words to be better understood! In a follow up to the screening, Anita remarked, “The screeners we met with really took the time to interact with Sebastian and hear my concerns. They explained what they were doing and observing and really seemed to care about my child.” Anita told her screener about her past experience being turned down for speech services for Sebastian. She was told that the program also offers follow up services to help guide and coach parents in understanding and navigating services for their children. In this way, Crece Conmigo functions as an advocate for the child and family. Sebastian was referred to Early Intervention Services (ECI), a statewide program for families with children, birth to three, who have disabilities and developmental delays. He qualified for speech therapy and received services until he turned 3. Now, Sebastian is attending a special education program through the school system and his behavior has improved significantly. Anita recently shared, “I am so thankful I found the Crece Conmigo Program. It made a big difference for my child and my entire family! I hope more families can benefit from a program like it. Thank you to all the people who work to make this program possible.”
Asked what participants have learned from Juega Conmigo, they've responded with:
-I have learned to play with my children
-I spend more time with my kids now
-I've learned to unplug from electronics so we can interact with our kids. My son used to say that we didn't listen to him because of the phone.
-I have learned that we can't expect our children to do things that we are not modeling for them. My son used to tell me, "Mommy, you don't want me to yell but you are yelling."
-My son is learning a lot of things he didn't know before.
-My child has had a developmental evaluation and now I know why he behaves the way he does. He is doing much better because I understand him more.