While I am driving down the sandy dirt road towards my next home visit, I am thinking about how my program can support a young worried family that I just saw. They found out that their four month old, a very sick baby, needs to do more tests at the Children’s Hospital in Vancouver. I will see them again in a few weeks…
As I park my car at my next client’s home, I can hear a child screaming and a minute later her flustered parent opens the door and shares with me in candid frustration, how her young daughter is using biting skills instead of words, AGAIN! Ten minutes later we are all sitting on the living room floor doing activities which support the child to learn some words or signs, and she is enjoying the lesson. Together, an anxious and tired mom and I discuss what can be a realistic goal to strive for over the next while. I try to comfort mom while determining what will be best for the young girl to progress. Listening to mom, I decide to focus our efforts on teaching the child five target words. Mom has noticed that the child starts biting when she isn’t able to express herself, together I help mom see that the young girl is trying desperately to tell her family what she needs! Before I leave I promise to drop off a book called “Teeth are not for biting.”
I arrive at the local licensed pre-school just before circle time. A young boy is about to start a project. Before he cuts his art work into one hundred little pieces instead of one circle (which inevitably will result in tears, disappointment, and a young sense of failure), I guide the SCD Aid through supporting the boy with his sitting position and cutting skills.
When reading circle starts I sit among the children and begin singing the welcome song for Moe the Mouse. Moe the Mouse from Vancouver Island comes and visits the preschool regularly, he loves to tell them stories and teaches the children all the special sounds his animal friends make. The children love making all the different animal sounds with him and take turns holding the soft animals Moe brought for them. It still amazes me watching children laughing and making animal noises, knowing that the sounds they are making are indeed the building blocks for their future ability to communicate clearly and effectively.
Fast forward to three months later, the little girl who was biting is able to say four of the five target words, has started to see the speech therapist and the biting has stopped! The parent shared with me that they really learned from our session that you can’t force a child to speak, instead, you can offer them other ways to learn how to communicate. I feel a sense of pride for myself and this family – for this is a success in my work!!
~ Lotter Rauter, RVSS Consultant for the Infant Development Program and the Supported Child Development Program.
The Infant Development Program (IDP)
The Infant Development Program (IDP) serves children from birth to 3 years old who are at risk for, or who already have, a delay in development. IDP Consultants work with caregivers to provide a range of services to help children overcome developmental challenges. Participation in the program is free, voluntary, and family centered. IDP Consultants will also help link families with Supported Child
Development and/or Early Intervention Therapy Program. Funded by the Ministry of Children and Family Development.
Supported Child Development Program
Supported Child Development Program provides a range of free consulting and support services to children, families, and child care centers. The program is intended to serve children from birth to age 19 and focusses on supporting children in childcare facilities as well as other settings. Supported Child Development Consultants help determine the family and child’s needs and match these with the
resources available in their community. Parents are involved at every step as the key partners in their child’s success. Participation in SCD is voluntary and the program is available to all families.
Funded by the Ministry of Children and Family Development.