At age two, Xitlali, whose name is pronounced SEAT-LA-LEE and originated from the Aztec language meaning “star,” was diagnosed with global developmental delays. She had limited social skills and exhibited difficult to manage behaviors, but it was her lack of developmentally appropriate language skills that most worried her parents.
That was then, this is now. In one short year, following intensive early intervention services provided by ECF’s Early Start program, including occupational and language therapies, Xitlali has made remarkable progress. She is friendly and initiates interactions with other children, her anxiety has almost completely disappeared, and she has developed strong communication skills.
Xitlali’s mom does not believe in the word can’t. She explains that, “As a parent you have to guide your child. We believe that most things are possible and are so grateful that the staff at ECF also believe this.”
Newborn Miles had Down syndrome. “We didn’t know if he would ever be able to talk or understand anything,” mom Loreni thought, “I pictured him as someone who couldn’t do anything. I just didn’t know what to expect.”
The new parents had no idea what to do next or where to turn for help. After leaving the hospital, they thought they were on their own. Fortunately, their pediatrician told them about their Regional Center, a state-funded organization that provides support to individuals with developmental disabilities. The Center introduced the family to ECF’s Early Start program for children under the age of three who have developmental delays.
At only 6 months old, Miles began working with an ECF occupational therapist at the family’s home. The therapist focused on the basics, improving Miles’ communications and motor skills. He was doing so well that his therapist suggested that Miles participate in the ECF Early Start Center-Based program, where he could develop his social and self-help skills through interactions with other children. Soon, to the delight and relief of his parents, Miles was able to eat on his own, play with other kids, and interact with his family.
Christopher’s mother was overwhelmed. Her little boy had been diagnosed with developmental delays and was struggling with even the most basic activities. The two-year-old would act out physically, throw tantrums, and was unable to communicate with his parents. To his mother, Sara, the future looked bleak. Her last hope was ECF’s Early Start program.
For more than a year and a half, Christopher attended Early Start classes and participated in one-on-one speech therapy sessions. It wasn’t easy but because of the compassion, expertise, and nurturing of his teachers and therapists, he began making progress.
Small steps became big successes. And eventually, Christopher was reaching major developmental milestones. He was able to eat calmly and play with his classmates. He was learning to control his impulses and for the first time was communicating with the Early Start staff and his parents. All of these successes gave his mother hope for a better future.