Children reach developmental milestones in their own way and at their own pace. Best Starts for Kids supports programs that ensure children receive the support they need along the way, so that all families are able to celebrate milestones with their kids.
Early Support for Infants and Toddlers provides early intervention services for children birth to age three and their families, blending federal, state, and Best Starts for Kids funding. In 2018, Early Support for Infants and Toddlers:
- Served 5,157 children and their families in King County, an increase of more than 10 percent from 2017
- Contracted with 13 community-based organizations with a countywide reach to provide early support services.
Read on to meet three children and families through some of our amazing partners in this work:
As a young infant, Hugo babbled and smiled like a typically-developing child, but at four or five months old, these behaviors ceased. He stopped showing interest in grabbing and playing with toys, and his parents could tell that his development was lagging behind where his siblings were at his age. His parents raised concerns with their pediatrician, who noted Hugo’s low muscle tone and recommended that they seek services at Kindering. Following Hugo’s initial evaluation at Kindering, he was enrolled in physical therapy and education services. Hugo also received speech therapy and participated in Kindering’s Spanish Stepping Stones inclusive preschool programming. His diagnosis has not yet been determined, but Kindering’s service providers worked with him to address cognitive, motor, and speech delays.
Kindering was not unfamiliar to the family. Their daughter was referred to Kindering roughly 12 years ago by her pediatrician for physical therapy. Having seen her gains, they brought Hugo’s brother to Kindering over concerns with his socialization with peers, where he made great strides through speech therapy and inclusive preschool programming. The family recalls initially feeling sadness when they became aware of Hugo’s delays; they had hoped he would be quick to reach developmental milestones and acquire skills, with modeling from his older siblings. But they now celebrate the progress he has made: he went from not crawling, playing, or sitting on his own to doing all of these things, gradually building core muscle strength and even starting to cruise with the help of furniture.
In addition to their children’s gains, Hugo’s parents say one of the biggest differences Kindering has made for them is the support they have received as parents. His mom highlights that Kindering’s specialists really make her and her husband part of the team, and equip them with knowledge and ideas to best support Hugo in daily life. They advocate strongly for the power and importance of reaching children as early as possible with early intervention services, having seen firsthand the difference it makes. They are amazed at Hugo’s progress with Kindering, and are very hopeful that he will begin walking on his own soon.
From a parent supported by ChildStrive: “When my toddler first started with ChildStrive he had just turned 2 and spoke less than 15 words. He was an extremely curious and independent boy but because of his speech delay he was constantly frustrated that we couldn’t understand what he was wanting to tell us about his world. Shortly after we started working with Temre we had big breakthroughs, he quickly started to pick up new words as we worked together with her and on our own. She gave us the tools to help work through my son’s struggles, and things just started to click. Now, just before his 3rd birthday he has countless words and no longer will need to continue speech therapy going forward because he is meeting most of his speech milestones for his age!
We are so grateful to ChildStrive and our SLP for how much they partnered our family, from the initial evaluation to all the appointments since we have felt supported and heard through the process. Our little guy is so much happier being able to tell us all the things he wants to tell us and we are so happy to be able to understand him, because we understand how he is trying to communicate with us. It really has changed our lives!”
M was 18 months when she came to Wonderland and enrolled in the CHERISH program. Wonderland staff had been working with M’s younger siblings through their CHERISH program. The CHERISH team advocated for the social worker to set up regular visits with M and her (full biological) siblings. This request was approved and visits began, coordinated through the foster families. When the siblings had been in the foster care system for approximately three months, it began to look as though their parents did not intend to seek custody; the social worker and the CASA involved wanted all three siblings (one of whom was placed in another home) to be adopted together. M started the process of changing homes.
Because the Wonderland team was already working with other children in the foster home she was residing in, they were able to provide support to the foster family even before the move started. The social worker reached out to the CHERISH provider for best practices, and services were able to start during M’s first full week with the new foster family. M has been adjusting to her new home very well. Wonderland staff coached the foster family, with ideas like a photo album from her previous placement, and a framed, easily visible photo of M in her new home These are clear sources of support for M, and she turns to them when feeling dysregulated. Many people (M, her siblings, her foster family) experienced significant changes in a short time frame. Wonderland has been able to support everyone involved throughout the entire process because of the dedication and hard work of their CHERISH team.