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A Mother’s Brave First Step

http://www.first5la.org/index.php?r=site/article&id=3813

A Mother’s Brave First Step

When her 2-year-old twins, Lisa and Monica, scored low on their Ages and Stages Questionnaire during a pediatric visit in South Los Angeles, Angela at first felt overwhelmed. She feared the stigma that came with the developmental delay diagnosis for her children.

At first, she was unwilling to enroll her children in an early intervention program. But after listening to the staff at Eisner Pediatric and Family Medical Center, Angela took a brave first step.

With the support of the children’s case manager and speech therapy team, Angela and her daughters took a field trip to the child development center. Once they visited the speech therapy classrooms, Angela’s mind began to change.

“Walking into a play-friendly, sensory-rich environment at the child development center, the twin girls immediately began to seek out toys and activities of interest,” Child Development Specialist and Speech Pathologist Kyra Griffith explained.

The visit turned out to be the key factor in convincing Angela to pursue services.

Through the First Connections Early Identification & Intervention patient care program, Angela participated in ‘It Takes Two to Talk,’ an evidenced-based parent education and training program for parents of children birth to age 5 who have language delays. The program recognizes the importance of involving parents in their child’s early language intervention, including strategies to help make language learning a normal part of a parent’s and child’s day, as well as tools to help her better understand children’s communication.

“It can provide relief to a parent, knowing that their child can access proper resources to address their special needs.” -Cinthia Alvarez

First Connections began as a three-year project in January 2014 and was extended in March 2016 to June 30, 2018. First 5 LA has invested a total of $3.75 million in the program.

The program identifies developmental delays and improves young children’s and their families’ access to developmental screenings. It provides culturally and linguistically appropriate early intervention services, and increases parents’ knowledge about healthy development and developmental delays.

The community-based organizations that participate in the program are Foothill Family Service, Westside Children’s Center, AltaMed Health Corporation, Eisner Pediatric and Family Medical Center, Northeast Valley Health Corporation and South Central Los Angeles Regional Center.

By successfully engaging in these services, Angela overcame the stigma. Referred to Early Start services (birth to age 3) at Frank D. Lanterman Regional Center, she and her girls now receive in-home services support.

“It can provide relief to a parent, knowing that their child can access proper resources to address their special needs,” said Cinthia Alvarez, Case Manager at Eisner Pediatric and Family Center. “As parents, they can learn educational techniques that can be followed through at home.”