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Region Stories

These stories illustrate how early childhood programs and services funded by First Things First make a difference for young children and families in communities across Arizona.

Developmental screening helps San Carlos boy get support to speak clearly

preschool boy with blue shirt standing in classroom

Anntonia Cutter was concerned that her 3-year-old son, Johnathan wasn’t speaking clearly yet. They had just moved to San Carlos, and Cutter wanted to make sure Johnathan had a strong start in the community.

“He used to get so frustrated when trying to communicate with us, because we couldn’t understand him,” Cutter said.

She was discouraged and wasn’t sure how to get help. She called the First Things First Globe Regional office and was referred to the FTF San Carlos Apache Regional Partnership Council, which funds the Developmental and Sensory Screening program.

After being screened through the Developmental and Sensory Screening program, Thuy Talgo-Bishop, the health educator, walked Cutter through steps that resulted in Jonathan enrolling into the Rice Preschool, where he received speech and language therapy.

“Early screenings are important because it assists kids who may have potential delays, so they can get the help they need before kindergarten,” said Talgo-Bishop. “Children can minimize delays they might otherwise have without these early screenings.”

Cutter was so happy to finally get the help she felt her son needed. Cutter said that Johnathan loves preschool, and she can now understand him when he speaks.

“When I heard those first clear words, I was so overwhelmed that I started to cry,” she said. “It’s so wonderful to hear my son say, ‘I love you, mom!’ Johnathan loves to sing and I love hearing him as well. I’m just so happy.”

Johnathan talks more now that he is understood, which is increasing positive interactions with his mom and other adults in his life and building his confidence.

“He is so much happier now,” Cutter said. “He used to get so frustrated when trying to communicate with us, because we couldn’t understand him. I’m so happy he was screened and got the help he needs. It has really changed him and us as a family. I have such a sense of peace now and am happy that I persevered to get my son the help he needed.”

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