During a local health fair, a mother of a 2-year-old boy approached the Cocopah Early Steps program table. The mom shared that she and her husband wanted to learn about the development of their little boy and strengthen the bond with him.
First Things First Cocopah Tribe Regional Partnership Council funds the Cocopah Early Steps program, which provides voluntary coaching and in-home support for families. The Early Steps program specialist went to the family’s home and enrolled them in the home visitation program.
A developmental screening, completed in partnership with the parent, identified the child’s difficulty with verbal communication. The parents said that the boy spoke mostly gibberish, which they understood, but others couldn’t. Both parents were eager to learn about how to help their son.
The program specialist provided the family with an age-appropriate book for their son and shared with them how strong early literacy skills are developed. The family learned about the importance of establishing a routine and reading every day and having face-to-face interactions. They also started having conversations with their child about their day-to-day activities, reading street signs and pointing out letters, asking their child questions about what they see and waiting patiently for an answer.
Within a few months, the program specialist saw how the child’s speech was improving. During one home visit, the family did a language and cognitive activity, where the boy named basic colors, sang the alphabet song and counted to the number 20. The father described how he and his wife started reading to their son every day, along with reviewing letters from the alphabet, singing and just talking to him.
Eight months later, the boy, now 3, is using complete sentences and has back-and-forth conversations with his parents and others. He has learned to say, “thank you” and “please.” He is ready to start preschool.