Maysa became pregnant when she was in middle school. Though her mother was committed to supporting her, Maysa’s friends soon disappeared. “When I was pregnant it felt crazy. I was overwhelmed and scared.” A WIC nurse referred her to ChildStrive’s Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP). “What’s most helpful about NFP is that I can ask questions and get answers from a nurse that I trust and know that she’s supporting me.” Maysa and Isaac are doing well. Maysa is going to high school and Isaac is reaching all of his developmental milestones right on time. “My nurse is like a friend, we not only talk about Isaac, but about my personal life and school, and how things are going.” ChildStrive nurses offer support and encouragement to over 200 families like Maysa and Isaac each year.
Nurse-Family Partnership is a national, evidence-based home visiting program that pairs nurses with young, first time pregnant moms. Nurses visit from early pregnancy until the child turns two. Thanks to generous supporters, there is no cost to families. For more information call 425-353-5656 x7335, email nursefamilypartnership@ChildStrive.org, or go to www.childstrive.org/programs/nurse-family-partnership/
Chandler had a rough start to life. He was born with spina bifida and had multiple surgeries in the first 18 months of life. The surgeries and his condition caused developmental delays and he was referred to ChildStrive for physical therapy services. Chandler’s doctors had cautioned the family not to expect much mobility from him. They didn’t believe he would ever crawl or walk. When ChildStrive’s physical therapist started working with the family, Chandler didn’t have much mobility. His mom, Ria, was just hoping that he would learn to crawl and play. The family set a couple of pretty easy goals including standing for a few minutes at a time. With the help of their physical therapist, Chandler started not only standing, but pulling up to stand. His crawling skills developed quickly and he was then able to start using a walker. ChildStrive staff “made us feel more confident with Chandler,” stated Ria, “she helped us understand he would meet developmental milestones when he was ready. We completely trusted her judgement and she never put limits on Chandler’s abilities.” Chandler graduated from ChildStrive’s Early Intervention program and is now 4 years old and enjoying preschool. He continues to become more independent and is making great progress in school and private physical therapy sessions. He is starting to use crutches instead of a walker at home. Chandler has a great sense of humor, is quite a talker and is enjoying being a big brother. Ria’s message to their ChildStrive therapists is “Thank you for coming into our lives at the perfect time. Chandler is a gift, he lifts our hearts, and because of your optimism and teaching, you made us realize that Chandler has no limits.”
Betty knows she’s a good mom but life gets really busy and ChildStrive’s Parents as Teachers (PAT) program gives her dedicated time to concentrate on her son’s social, emotional, and physical development. “I saw it as an opportunity to learn more about my kids. PAT gives me the set time to just be with my son and focus on his development, and really pay attention to how he’s growing.” Betty became a mom at just 16 and was pregnant with her second child when she graduated from high school. Today both of her kids are doing really well and she credits her confidence as a mother, and the quality time they spend together to ChildStrive. “Parents as Teachers is encouragement; reassuring you that you’re doing it right; you’re doing a good job; and they are there to answer any questions you might have. They are an extra resource in your support circle.” Betty’s family has benefited from the home-visiting service and she gets options on what their appointments are about – they’ve discussed everything from Kayden’s temperment to meal planning. Contact ChildStrive for more information at 425-353-5656 or www.ChildStrive.org
“The reason I love ChildStrive is because they are there for us,” says Jhonny’s mom, Irene. “They are my angels.” She was worried about her son because at ten months he wouldn’t tolerate being on his tummy, he didn’t crawl, refused to transition from baby food to table food, and made little eye contact. Irene relayed her fears to a nurse at the WIC office and was referred to ChildStrive. After an in-home assessment, Jhonny was diagnosed as developmentally delayed and services began with a physical therapist in their home. Because Jhonny wasn’t willing to spend time on his tummy he had developed a flat spot on the back of his head. His pediatrician prescribed a foam helmet to help his head form into a more natural shape. Irene said it was difficult to act like a “normal family” since she felt people would look at them funny and without family in the area they felt alone and isolated. With help from ChildStrive’s physical therapists, speech therapist and educator, Jhonny has overcome many obstacles. Today Jhonny is a smart 2-year old, learning words and numbers in both English and Spanish, plays independently, and loves anything with music. Their family continues to work on more complex playing, advancing his communication skills, and socializing with other children. Irene and Juan credit Jhonny’s incredible progress to the services provided by ChildStrive.
Lena wasn’t worried about her daughter’s unusual method of crawling until the pediatrician mentioned it at their check-up appointment. The doctor referred them to ChildStrive for an evaluation to see if Samara had a developmental delay. A physical therapist from ChildStrive evaluated Samara and determined that she did have delays in some of her gross motor skills and wasn’t using her hand properly as she crawled. “In our culture, people don’t talk of these things,” mentioned Lena. “I had no idea what to expect or what would happen next.” Together Samara’s family and therapist set goals and helped Samara learn how to crawl while positioning her hands correctly. Although it was a struggle at first, today Samara has completely mastered crawling and is now working on standing and walking. “I am so thankful for ChildStrive”, said Lena, “our child’s therapist assured us that everything is possible and I’ve seen how much good they have done for my child and my family. I’d like to tell other families, even though it feels scary, if your child even has a small problem, you will benefit from Early Intervention services. You can turn to ChildStrive for help!” If you have concerns about your child’s development (ages birth to three) contact us for a free, in-home evaluation at Help@ChildStrive.org
Brody was a “good baby” according to his parents Larry and Kristina. He had no trouble sleeping or eating and seemed to be content and independent. Shortly after Brody’s first birthday, their world changed. Almost overnight Brody became a screaming, inconsolable little boy that made little eye contact and slept very little. His pediatrician referred him to Seattle Children’s and the family contacted ChildStrive.
Before connecting with ChildStrive, Larry and Kristina felt there were merely surviving day to day. Jackie and Maggie worked with Brody and his parents in small steps. Brody wasn’t able to speak, so Jackie started working with pictures and small words, slowly Brody was able to communicate with his family. Working with Brody’s diet, they learned that removing food dyes reduced his night terrors and with Melatonin, Brody was finally able to sleep. Maggie worked on developing Brody’s motor skills. He had difficulty in keeping his body centered. Through the use of a compression suit, they saw a 50% to 75% improvement in his body strength.
Larry and Kristina credit Jackie and Maggie’s supportive attitude as instrumental in turning things around for their family. They worked as partners with Brody’s parents to alleviate the stresses and build on the strengths of their family. The therapists helped Larry and Kristina create strategies to work with Brody’s struggles.
Brody transitioned from ChildStrive to Developmental Preschool in the Mukilteo School District and is now in a traditional Kindergarten class. He is a bright, energetic 5-year old and although he still struggles a bit in social situations, he continues to make great strides both physically and socially. His parents appreciate ChildStrive staff for helping Brody become the wonderful little boy that he is today.
Stephanie was concerned that her daughter wasn’t talking yet. Family and friends commented that Isabella was just shy and there was no need to worry. But for Stephanie, the nagging doubts persisted. “I just didn’t want her to be left behind,” she said. “We were both struggling, she couldn’t tell me what she wanted and that would lead to frustration and tantrums.” She learned about ChildStrive’s drop-in play group on Casino Road when she attended the Project Homeless Connect. She and Isabella started to attend the play groups and Stephanie learned about other services provided by ChildStrive. She had Isabella screened and they confirmed that Isabella has significant delays in communication skills and would benefit from services. Isabella started at ChildStrive just before her second birthday and her speech was limited to just five words. Only five months later, Isabella had made great strides in her communication and was up to 150 words. Ruth is an Educator at ChildStrive and is the family’s primary coach. Ruth and Isabella’s family partnered to work on her pre-verbal skills including interactive play and imitations. Stephanie says that Isabella looks forward to Ruth’s visits, “Ruth is so supportive and wonderful, and she helps me incorporate activities into our regular life that helps Isabella learn to communicate. She helps me understand how Isabella and I can play together so that we can share experiences and I can learn what interests Isabella.
Katie remembers that she was desperate to help her son but didn’t know where to turn. It had been a couple of really challenging years. She had a difficult pregnancy, her husband was recovering from prescription drug addiction, and although both parents were working and trying to make ends meet, they had lost their home and the family was living in their car. On top of all these worries their two year old son, Johnny, wasn’t talking and was barely eating. They were referred to ChildStrive by Johnny’s pediatrician.
Through a developmental assessment Johnny was found to have speech delays. A plan was quickly put into place by Rita, one of ChildStrive’s Speech and Language Pathologists. At first Katie was embarrassed to utilize ChildStrive’s help because of the family’s homelessness. But as Katie and her husband worked together with Rita they quickly learned that Rita was not judgmental and in fact reinforced all the things they were doing right. The family also worked with a ChildStrive family counselor who helped them recognize that they were good parents and dedicated to gaining self-sufficiency and happiness again, despite all of the recent setbacks.
Johnny graduated from the Early Intervention program having reached all of the family’s goals and today is a happy typically-developing preschooler looking forward to a bright future. Katie has a new job and the family has a stable home. Katie credits ChildStrive with helping them not only with Johnny, but with the whole family. They are stronger than ever!
Although Jamye and her husband Nate were expecting twins, they weren’t prepared to have them arrive 14 weeks early! Piper and Lincoln weighed in at about 2 pounds each and spent three months in the hospital. Most parents, after enduring a long NICU journey, hunker down with their babies and move on to the next phase of cocooning at home. This family wasn’t so lucky. Just days after welcoming Piper home (Lincoln had come home a few weeks earlier) the family picked up and moved from their native California to Washington State for a pre-planned, but much delayed career move for Nate.
“It would have been difficult enough to have our tiny twins at home surrounded by family and friends, but we were in a whole new place and didn’t know a soul,” commented Jamye. When the twins were about 7 months old, their doctor noticed development delays and referred them to the state’s Birth to Three program. After studying their options, they chose ChildStrive based on the excellent reviews and testimonies they read online.
Katie, a physical therapist at ChildStrive became the family’s primary contact. Jamye recalls, “Katie was so encouraging and gave me confidence that I am a good mom and helped me incorporate activities that would help with their development into our daily routines.” Jamye also appreciated the practical and positive advice she received from Katie. “It was comforting to have someone come to my home who had a lot of experience with children who have similar experiences as my twins. She understood where we were at and I could talk to her about everything.”
Although a typical journey for micro-preemies usually involves early intervention services until a child turns three, Lincoln and Piper graduated from the Early Intervention program prior to their second birthday. If the twins encounter another developmental delay prior to their third birthday, they will again be eligible for services at ChildStrive. “We are glad for the resources at ChildStrive,” stated Jamye, “I don’t know what I would have done without their help.”
Roxy discovered she was pregnant while living in a shelter in Everett. She enrolled in ChildStrive’s Parents as Teachers program during her pregnancy at the guidance of a Housing Hope Case Manager. Roxy and her son worked with ChildStrive’s Parent Educator, Alicia, while in the program. She appreciated the information that Alicia brought to her regarding childhood development, especially material related to meal planning and which foods are appropriate for a toddler. “Roxy has natural mothering skills. She’s a good mom and is committed to providing a good life for her son,” stated Alicia. Roxy tells others in her situation, “call ChildStrive, Parents as Teachers is a great program, I don’t know what I would have done without them.”