When Cyianna’s parents enrolled her in the Early Head Start program, she had been receiving therapy services in her home and had never been in a group care setting. Born with developmental delays, she was enrolled at Brandon’s Place at Lincoln when she was two years old. She could not walk, talk or feed herself and for the first six weeks she cried every day. In fact, in the early days, she cried so loudly and so long that a teacher would put her in a stroller and walk her up and down the hallways for long stretches of time. That was the only thing in the first few weeks that stopped her terror cries.
Her parents did not have transportation and if the weather was bad, they kept her at home. The Director at the center and our Family Advocate spoke with both parents and let them know that continued attendance was critical to Cyianna’s development. Bus passes were given to the parents and her attendance greatly improved. Her therapists continued to work with her in the classroom and gradually, Cyianna began to acclimate to her new surroundings.
Over time, Cyianna began standing up, taking steps, walking, feeding herself, saying words, and brushing her teeth. Within a few months she was interacting with her classmates, two teachers, Foster Grandparent, and volunteers. She stopped her tears, began to smile, and began learning necessary skills. It wasn’t long before her teacher noted that Cyianna always had a smile on her face! By the time she transitioned from the program into Head Start, she was well on her way to reaching her age-appropriate developmental milestones. If it had not been for the quality, early intervention services of Early Head Start, Cyianna would probably never have caught up to be the person she was always capable of becoming. She is just one example of how quality, comprehensive early intervention services can shape a child’s life in a positive way.