Tag Archives: early childhood intervention

Tools for the Journey Through Life

The following was shared by a parent of a client in Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Early Childhood Intervention Infant Program.

“Once my daughter, Harper, was diagnosed with Autism I knew we needed help! When we first met with Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Early Childhood Intervention Infant Program my child could not communicate. Harper would scream, throw fits, and have meltdowns as she could not tell us what her wants or needs were. She could not and would not point or show us what she wanted. She was also an extremely picky eater, refusing to try any new foods. Experiencing anything new was overwhelming for Harper. She was withdrawn and preferred to play on her own than with the family. I never heard her say mama or experienced those awesome baby/toddler kisses and reading books together.

After Ashley and Jessica from Easter Seals ECI Program started working with her I began to see positive changes in Harper. She started signing which resulted in less meltdowns and fits in our house. As time went on, she started to allow her siblings to play with her and she would laugh with them instead of screaming and taking off. She started tolerating new textures and touching things and exploring in her environment. Though she remained cautious this was a huge accomplishment!

This amazing little girl has continued to improve. Even though she still is not talking verbally she can communicate what she wants to us by pointing and taking us to where she wants to be (often to the freezer for her popsicles and to turn on her favorite toy). She plays with her siblings (they are ages 16, 14 and 9) and we even hear belly laughs now and again, something I previously took for granted. I got my first kiss from her at 2 1/2. She is happy to see me when I come home. I now know without a doubt she knows I am her momma and I know that sounds crazy, but I was unsure as she didn’t react me.

This is just a summary of how far she has come. Everyday is a new day with a child with Autism and not always sunshine and rainbows. She will always have her harder days, but the tools and help we received as a family has really improved our ability to better support Harper. I honestly would never be able to put in words how happy I am with Jessica, Ashley and the entire Easter Seals ECI crew. They set Harper up with a great foundation for her to continue to grow and prosper in her new chapters on this journey through life.” -Harper’s Mom

Are you concerned about your baby’s development? Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Early Childhood Intervention services are available for children birth to 36 months who show a developmental delay, who are at risk for a delay, have a disability or atypical behaviors. Learn more.

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Fabulous Fátima

The following is a testimony shared by a parent whose daughter, Fátima, is a client of Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Early Childhood Intervention Infant Program.

“Fátima es una niña con espina bífida, aún recuerdo cuando los doctores me daban un diagnóstico muy desalentador, pero gracias a Dios conocí el programa de Easter Seals Greater Houston ECI. Ellos llegaron para ayudar a Fátima con las terapias.  Ahora ella a logrado muchos obstáculos que le han puesto.  No encuentro palabras para agradecer  mi satisfacción a Sarah y Ashlea por la ayuda que me han brindado. Ahora Fátima es una niña muy feliz a su corta edad y espero que sus terapias le ayuden en un futuro a caminar por si sola.”

“Fátima is a girl with Spina Bifida. I still remember when the doctors gave me a very discouraging diagnosis, but thank God I learned about the Easter Seals Greater Houston ECI program. They came to help Fátima with the therapies. Now she has overcome many obstacles that have been placed on her. I can’t find the words to thank Sarah and Ashlea for the help they have given me. Now Fátima is a very happy girl at her young age and I hope that her therapies will help her to walk on her own in the future.”

The time from birth to age three is critical in your child’s physical and cognitive development.  To help make sure your baby is reaching their developmental milestones, you can complete this free Ages & Stages Questionnaire or check with your pediatrician if you have concerns. Learn more about Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Early Childhood Intervention Program!

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Walk With Me For Life

“When Luke was asked to be one of the ambassadors for Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Walk With Me 2021, I originally felt like being asked was such an honor for both him and our family.  However, those feelings quickly shifted as we realized the real honor was the opportunity to give back to this wonderful organization.

Without a doubt, Easter Seals Greater Houston has completely changed the trajectory of my sons life.  Like for so many other childhood disorders, early childhood intervention is absolutely critical for kids like Luke who have Cerebral Palsy.  Luke’s therapists have worked incredibly hard to create new neural pathways in his brain, and have succeeded tremendously!   It felt like we would never meet certain milestones, and now he is beginning to reach so many with ease!  Each day we get a little more excited and optimistic about his future – and that is thanks to all of the early childhood intervention he has received from Easter Seals

The Bailey family will be at Walk With Me 2022, Walk With Me 2071, and every walk in between.  This wonderful organization has completely changed our lives for the better, and we promise to continue to fundraise and share our gratitude for as long as we possibly can!” -Samantha Bailey, Luke’s Mom

Walk With Me raises funds for life-changing programs and resources for veterans, service members, children and adults with disabilities and their families. Save the date for Walk With Me 2022 – Saturday, April 23, 2022 at the Houston Zoo! Learn more.

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So Much Progress, So Little Time!

The following testimonial was shared by the parent of one of Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Early Childhood Intervention Infant Program clients.

“I’m going to admit, I wasn’t fully locked in to the idea of getting speech therapy for my son Pierre. I am so glad that my husband and I made the decision to go ahead and try it out. Our son had normal development but at 15 months when his little sister was born, he slowed up progression in speech. I figured it would just pass but he started to regress more and more. Thanks to Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Early Childhood Intervention Program, he is now speaking in 3-4 word sentences, expressing his wants, and even saying thank you after getting what he wants! It has only been 2.5 months and I can’t believe his quick turnaround. My husband and I are forever grateful for Mrs. Tiller from the ECI Program for being so patient and diligent in her efforts. 

Best

Paris”

Are you concerned about your baby’s development? Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Early Childhood Intervention services are available for children birth to 36 months who show a developmental delay, who are at risk for a delay, have a disability or atypical behaviors. Learn more.

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Striving Sisters

“Both of my daughters were referred to Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Early Childhood Intervention Infant Program for physical therapy from their Orthopedic surgeon following surgeries, casting, and bracing for both girls to correct bilateral club foot. “A” and “E” have made tremendous progress reaching their developmental milestones with the help of their ECI therapists and service coordinator over the last year. The physical therapist has helped to show me activities to strengthen their ankles and feet and both “A” and “E” are so motivated during sessions. At 14 months age adjusted, “A” started taking her first independent steps this month and now she’s walking everywhere! “E” is very close to walking on her own, she is walking with little help and her push toy, and she is so motivated to stand and look at her favorite books. I am so proud of how strong both girls are and am excited to see how they continue to grow and learn with the help of Easter Seals Greater Houston ECI.”

-“A” and “E” mom 

The time from birth to age three is critical in your child’s physical and cognitive development.  To help make sure your baby is reaching their developmental milestones, you can complete this free Ages & Stages Questionnaire or check with your pediatrician if you have concerns. Learn more about Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Early Childhood Intervention Program!

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Paving the Way with Belief and Hard Work

Greta Cherry and Jamie Hodges at Hats Off To Mothers Luncheon

The following was shared by Jamie Hodges, DPT in response to Greta Cherry, an incredible friend and fellow physical therapist, retiring. Cheers to the amazing and unstoppable Greta Cherry who retired from our Infant Program after nearly 50 years of service to the babies in our community. Greta has left her mark on countless children and their families, black women following in her profession, and most definitely on all of us who worked with her at Easter Seals Greater Houston.

“When I graduated from PT school, our class had more African American students than any other class. All of the classes prior to us had 1 maybe 2 black students …..for many years until our class which had 5. We were excited and proud that we had made it into the program especially when we all graduated. 

In all my training as a physical therapy technician, student and even when I stepped into my career to encounter another black physical therapist, was rare and then to meet one that was older than me was even more rare. To be honest, I had never met another black physical therapist who was older than me until I met Mrs. Greta and Mrs. Priscilla. When I met her and shadowed her to determine if I wanted to work for Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Early Childhood Intervention Program, I was in awe. I listened to everything she said and I took every word in! 

I don’t know why I wanted to share this with you…I guess because her impact goes beyond Easter Seals Greater Houston… I am grateful for her journey into this profession.  She paved the way for women like me.” -Jamie Hodges, DPT

Read Mrs. Greta’s heartfelt thank you note reflecting on her time as a physical therapist with Easter Seals Greater Houston and how her legacy will live on.

“I know I should have sent this thank you sooner, but having to write and send it seems so final. I found myself delaying ‘thank you’ to everyone at Easter Seals this time because it makes me so sad, it seems like the end of such an important part of my life. I had to come to the realization, I will no longer be a physical therapist and no longer work for Easter Seals. Change is hard and a final change is harder.

I want to say first, I am very thankful to have been able to work and be a part of Easter Seals for 48 years. I can look back for the rest of my life and have no regrets about my career choice. I was blessed to get my first job to be able to work with children and fulfill my dream to come true.

During all these years, I was given so much support that helped me grow to increase my knowledge and develop my skills. I was given the opportunity to serve as Supervisor of Physical Therapy for many years.

I have made so many wonderful friends, had the chance to work with some of their children. I consider all to be my family.

It has not all been work, I have had so much fun attending lots of fabulous parties, fundraisers, traveling and even getting to meet lots of famous people like [Congresswoman] Barbara Jordan. I celebrated my “30th”, “40th”, “50th”, “60th” and “70th” birthdays at Easter Seals.

I want to thank everyone for contributing to my retirement tribute. It was beautiful. I get teary-eyed every time I watch it.

Thank you so much for all the gifts and financial support. The crown is sooo beautiful. I placed it so it can be the center of attention in my home. As a matter of fact my living room is covered with beautiful gifts I have received over the years. The icing on my cake (my career) was the “Greta Cherry Award.” It was so unexpected and I feel so honored. I truly thank all those who initiated the thought of honoring me in such a special way.

It is an achievement given to me that I can celebrate knowing that I will be remembered for a long time even after I am gone. I could not ask for more. This honor came while I am living to see it. Thank you! Thank you!

May God continue to bless Easter Seals with success and growth as it serves so many people and provides for their needs.

I was around to see so many changes. Believing in what you are doing and working hard is what Easter Seals is all about.

Love you all!!!

Greta H. Cherry”

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Playing for Progress

Mason is pointing to the airplanes outside the airport 

Mason has been enrolled in Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Early Childhood Intervention Program for 5 months and he has been receiving Specialized Skills training. When he started the program, he was only saying 2 words and he was not pretending or wanting to interact much with others. Playing pretend is such a big part of language development and a fun way for our Early Childhood Intervention Specialists to work on so many skills with our clients.

Now Mason is very engaged with his parents and his sister. He will come to them and pull them over to join him in play. He enjoys pretending with his toy animals and he will copy many different actions and sounds with them . He also enjoys stacking blocks and counting them and having races with his sister where he will say “ready set go” for them to start. He has a vocabulary of over 30 words and is starting to put words together and he is beginning to use words more consistently to get his needs met. His parents are very happy and excited about his progress and feel that he is now prepared to start school when he turns 3.

“I want to thank the ECI Program and Heather Zamora (his Early Intervention Specialist). Thanks to their services, today I can say that Mason is reaching the goal. Every day I can see his improvement. I feel satisfied with the program’s services.” -Mason’s Mom

The time from birth to age three is critical in your child’s physical and cognitive development.  To help make sure your baby is reaching their developmental milestones, you can complete this free Ages & Stages Questionnaire or check with your pediatrician if you have concerns. Learn more about Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Early Childhood Intervention Program!

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Better Hearing and Speech Month

The following was written by Mary Dawson, M.A.CCC-SLP, the Clinic Director for Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Children’s Therapy Program.

I recently had the wonderful opportunity to reconnect with my now 22-month old grandson after a year of only visiting through FaceTime visits. Wow, how he had changed! It was so wonderful to see and hear him communicate with us. He uses a combination of words, phrases and gestures to request, label, protest and comment about all he sees and wants. Even the short time he was with us he learned to say his version of “green truck” a new favorite toy.

As a speech- language pathologist, I am often asked, “when should I be concerned if my child is not communicating like his friend or siblings”. I inform parents to speak with their pediatrician about their concerns and provide communication milestones.

Know the signs of common speech and language disorders in children between birth and 4 years of age, an important stage in early detection of communication disorders.

  • Does not smile  (begins 2 months)
  • Does not babble (4-7 months)
  • Makes only a few sounds or gestures, like pointing (7-12 months)
  • Does not understand what others say (7 months-2 years)
  • Says only a few words (12-18 months)
  • Words are not easily understood (18 months-2 years)
  • Does not put words together to make sentences (1.5-3 years)
  • Has trouble playing and talking with other children (2-3 years)
  • Has trouble with early reading and writing skills (2.5-3 years)

Ways to Help with Language Disorders

  • Listen and respond to your child
  • Talk, read, and play with your child
  • Talk with your child in the language you are most comfortable using
  • Talk about what you are doing and what your child is doing
  • Use a lot of different words with your child
  • Use longer sentences as your child gets older

Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Children’s Therapy and Early Childhood Intervention Program (ECI) offer early identification and early intervention for children birth through 21 years to assist children in becoming successful communicators. Easter Seals provides a free Ages and Stages Questionnaire to see if your child is on track for their milestones. The American Speech Language Association (ASHA) also provides information to assist families with knowing the signs.

Contact Easter Seals Greater Houston at 713-838-9050 for answers regarding your child’s development or learn more here.

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Thriving, Sassy and Healthy!

The following blog was written by a parent of two daughters in Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) Program:

Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Early Childhood Intervention Program has been extremely beneficial and rewarding for my children. My 2-year-old daughter started doing therapy with ECI when she was 7 months old. She couldn’t walk, talk or even roll over very well and she wasn’t sitting up at all.

Today, she is a THRIVING, SASSY, and very HEALTHY 2-year-old that can do almost everything the doctors said she would struggle doing. Her progress is definitely thanks to Easter Seals Greater Houston!! I am so thankful for her team of ECI therapists and the time and dedication they have put into making sure my KaMaya and her little sister Kamoura are at their very best.

Kamoura does physical therapy with ECI as well and has come a long way. Even though we are working on posture and walking, I have confidence that over the next few months, she will also be above and beyond what the doctors doubts she could do.

We have definitely enjoyed the relationships that have been built between my kids and their ECI therapists. I have appreciated the kindness and understanding that is always shown to my family, especially during the COVID19 pandemic. We are looking forward to seeing more progress with our girls in the next few months! God bless you all!

Special thanks to KaMaya and Kamoura’s ECI Team: Early Intervention Specialist Sarah Summers, Physical Therapist Ms. Charisse, Occupational Therapists Ms. Shama and Ms. Christy, SST teacher Ms. Kim, Nutritionist Ms. Tien, and Speech therapist Ms. Gretchen.

The time from birth to age three is critical in your child’s physical and cognitive development.  To help make sure your baby is reaching their developmental milestones, you can complete this free Ages & Stages Questionnaire or check with your pediatrician if you have concerns.  Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Early Childhood Intervention is accepting referrals and offers tele-health as well as in-home services. Learn more!

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A – to – Zephyr!

Congratulations to Zephyr who officially “graduated” from the Easter Seals Greater Houston Early Childhood Intervention Program on Friday August 28th!  Zephyr has been working hard in Speech Therapy with Jennifer Miller as his Speech-Language Pathologist and with his mom.

Zephyr enjoying a virtual Early Childhood Intervention session with his mom and speech-language pathologist

The following was written by Zephyr’s mom, Scarlett.

Zephyr was not verbally communicating much when he turned 12 months old. By our 18th month check-up with our pediatrician, it was recommended we get in touch with Early Childhood Intervention services. With the help of Jennifer, our assigned speech-language pathologist, and Alicia, Easter Seals Greater Houston’s service coordinator, we were able to get Zephyr back on track to his developmental stage just after his 2nd birthday. In these short months, I have watched his exponential growth in speech and it could not have been possible without the help and dedication of the Easter Seals ECI team with twice a month sessions even with COVID-19, although services needed to be virtual. The bond we have formed has been amazing, not only did my son looked forward to these meetings but so did I. I know they are only looking out for our well-being and the impact they have made in our lives will always be remembered and appreciated!

Thank you!

Scarlett P.

Easter Seals Greater Houston's speech-language pathologist Jennifer during a session with Zephyr

Easter Seals Greater Houston’s ECI Program is still providing all services via tele-therapy, including evaluations. Call Alicia at 713.838.9050 ext. 385 to schedule a free evaluation and to check on your child’s milestones.

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