29 December


A Smile and a Wave: A Story of Success

Two years ago, a young mother-to-be came into the Center for New Communities (C4NC) Little Lambs center in Fredericksburg to drop off her nephew for class. This became a routine and furthermore, a blessing. The mother-to-be’s daughter, Mireya, is a Little Lamb now, and her family shares the ups and downs of child development and the support they have received through C4NC EHS Little Lambs Family Learning Center.

Analisia became familiar and comfortable with the center as she would help drop off and pick up her nephew Emilio. She liked what she saw and was comfortable with the staff. Working and pregnant, she enrolled at Little Lambs as an expectant mother. As fate would have it, six weeks after her daughter, Mireya, was born, an opening in the infant room became available. Analisia was thankful to be able to return to work so soon because of the support from Little Lambs EHS. This was a relief to her and her family. And since she was already comfortable with the staff, the transition was easier.

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Mireya grew like every other child. However, as Mireya progressed and developed life skills, concerns from the teachers surfaced. The concerns were shared with the Site Manager, Janna, and then she shared them with Mireya’s mother and father. Mireya being their first child, and without other children to compare her to, they were unaware that Mireya’s gross motor skills were developing slowly. She was slow to start crawling and seemed to limit usage of her right side. Looking back now, Analisia was concerned that her daughter was 15 months old and still not walking. With the help of Early Childhood Intervention and a good relationship between the therapists and teachers, Mireya began to work on her gross motor skills. Analisia was thankful for that relationship because it gave Mireya additional opportunities to practice in the classroom in the same way the therapist worked with her. Gross motor therapy was only twice a month and only at the center. Seeing that the teachers could mimic the therapy, Analisia and Edgar were encouraged to practice the therapy at home.

Mireya’s gross motor skills improved and her family was very happy. Mireya was not as happy, however. Interactions with the therapists created a “stranger danger fear” and brought on a new concern: speech. Mireya did well with signing but her communication and babbling lacked. And every time Mireya saw a new face outside of her daily routine, including those of some family members, Mireya would cry. Mireya was transitioning at the time from the infant room to the toddler room. The center, fearing it could make matters worse, helped with a slow transition. Mireya did well. In fact, Analisia walked into the center’s office one day shortly after the transition and said “Mireya just started talking!” And now, a few months after Mireya has been in the toddler room, Analisia is pleased with how much she is babbling and speaking, trying to put words with signs. Analisia feels the encouragement from the teachers, the interaction with the speech therapist and the example set by the other students in the classroom really helped Mireya’s speech skills. Analisia even commented on how limited the crying is now: “She doesn’t cry with her grandmothers anymore.”

Analisia is glad that Little Lambs will be able to help Mireya for another year as today is her second birthday. She looks forward to seeing Mireya’s “unique personality,” as Mireya’s case worker describes her, blossom even more so over the next year. Analisia knows the center had so much influence in the development and transitions that Mireya has made in the last two years.

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Today, with her classmates, she walks by the office on her way outside; she gives a bright smile and a wave, on her way to play. What another year with Mireya will bring, we are all (parents, teachers, and therapists) eager to see.


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