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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.

Home visits help Navajo mother support daughter with speech problems

Mom reading a book to her toddler daughter

Years ago, Natasha Naha recalls sitting with her mom during the home visits for her little brother, who was enrolled in a home visitation program in the Seba Delkai Boarding School. The program provided regular in-home visits from a trained professional who provided parenting information, modeled ways to support healthy development and shared connections to other community resources. Naha remembers the remarkable progress her little brother made while in the program.

So Naha, now with a baby of her own, knew she wanted to enroll her baby in a similar home visitation program. The First Things First Navajo Nation Regional Partnership Council funds the Growing in Beauty home visitation program, which customizes services to meet individual family needs and goals, including enhanced well-child care, home visits, informational material, parent groups, prenatal visits and links to community resources.

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Mom reading a book to her toddler daughter

Home visits help Navajo mother support daughter with speech problems

Martha Lee, Naha’s home visitor, works with parents to help them see that they are their child’s first and best teachers. Naha knew Lee from a similar program, where Lee was a home visitor and provided her with information about her baby’s development stages, nutrition, exercise, immunizations and prenatal appointments.

When her second child Aaliyah, was born, Naha enrolled in the Growing in Beauty program, where she was reunited with Lee as her home visitor.

Right away, Naha told Lee about concerns she had about her daughter’s speech. Naha noticed other kids progressing more than her daughter even though the kids were in the same developmental stages. Lee gave the mother resources while reassuring Naha that children progress at their own unique pace. For example, Aaliyah spoke with a strong and noticeable lisp. So Lee told Naha to encourage talking, but to practice how to enunciate or pronounce loudly, clearly and confidently her “S” sounds. She also encouraged them to sing songs to help with two to three-word pronunciations.

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The program helped Naha understand the speech problems, help her daughter and minimize the stigma for Aaliyah that comes with a speech impediment.

Talking and asking questions also helped Aaliyah’s motor skills. Naha noticed she has improved significantly. Martha provided guidance and to help with motor skills to assist in such tasks as the necklace creating. Lee provided fun activities for Aaliyah to engage her problem-solving abilities.

“The program made a huge difference,” Naha said. “I feel a comfort knowing that my daughter is learning and improving not only from help in her immediate environment but through the experts in the Growing in Beauty program.”

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