Lovely Lively Lucy
Lucy is an adorable child who was adopted from China at 11 months of age. By the time Lucy turned 21 months old, her parents (Lisa & Tim) were at their wits end and did not know who to call. Lucy was frustrated, screamed much of the time, had mood swings that were difficult to manage and did not have more than five words. The parents were familiar with RMCC because their older daughter, Charlotte, received early Intervention services four years prior for oral motor and feeding issues. The RMCC team of therapists worked with Charlotte and her parents quite intensively and after six months of service, she was discharged because the goals were achieved and her issues resolved.
Their family knew our program had educators and therapists but had thought that eligibility for services was based on a medical condition or diagnosed disability. Lucy’s issues seemed to be more behavioral and the parents thought that was something they should have been able to handle, especially since Lisa is a pediatric NICU nurse. In fact, Lucy was eligible due to atypical social emotional development and weekly home visits began right away. The focus of our services was twofold. First, to help Lucy learn and use communication skills to reduce her frustration and also guide the family in using strategies to facilitate her language attempts. Second, and perhaps even more critical to the family’s wellbeing and ultimately Lucy’s development, was to support the parents in their struggle to nurture a child with possible attachment issues and definitely a strong will.
Our staff members’ validation of and partnership with the parents kept this family from giving up. When the opportunity to enroll Lucy in the Early Learning Group Program was presented, their family jumped at the chance. Lisa shared that this community group experience has been the perfect transition to expose Lucy to a group setting to practice her communication skills with peers and learn how to share and take turns. The therapist who had been providing home visits helped prepare the group staff for Lucy’s entry. The individualized strategies used at home were being incorporated into the group routine in order to insure a positive and effective experience for Lucy. Her parents feel confident that she will be ready for preschool at age 3 in most part due to their entire family’s experience at RMCC.
Lucky Loveable Luke
Tracy is a pediatric occupational therapist that has worked for our agency for 11 years; at first full-time and the last six years very part-time in order to be at home with her children. Both children have been and are developmentally at age level and did not qualify for our early intervention services; however, Tracy & Luke chose to enroll them in our Early Learning Group Program.
One might think that a pediatric occupational therapist specializing in early childhood development and supporting families to learn intervention strategies to promote children’s next steps might not need a service like our Early Learning Group. That is just not the case. The developmentally rich learning environment for children and judgment-free zone for parents has made this service invaluable.
Our Early Learning Program has in part prepared her children for school entry. Even more important is how the parent-to-parent connections have helped her and her husband feel part of a “community of parents” all striving for the best possible life for their children, i.e, what we in the business call positive outcomes for children and families. This informal network of parents is powerful. They garner strength from one another as they watch their children through the observation window, share experiences and lessons learned from the journey of parenthood, and they form bonds along the way. Being a parent is the toughest job ever. Parents question themselves more than there are hours in the day–validation by our staff and one another is essential in building strong, competent families.
A Family’s Gratitude: Click Here for an amazing story from the Johnson Familiy