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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.

Infants, parents take healthy steps together

Healthy Steps Newborn Behavioral Observation (NBO) is a free program funded by First Things First and offered through Summit Regional Medical Center in Show Low to all families with a new baby. The service is for all new parents, not just those who have never had a baby before. In fact, seasoned parents may be surprised at what they can learn.

DeAnn Davies, Director of Healthy Steps at Summit Regional Medical Center, recalled a case when she was visiting babies and their families in the couplet unit at Summit and was told that one of the mothers had just given birth to her ninth child and wouldn’t need the NBO because she was so experienced. DeAnn visited her anyway. Right away, the baby showed her preference to faces over toys when DeAnn held up a red ball but the baby looked right around it and sought out her face instead. The “new” mother was amazed! DeAnn asked her, “So, what do you think your baby’s favorite toy is?” “My face!” exclaimed the delighted mom. “You could have saved me so much money with the other eight!” Next, DeAnn showed the mom the baby’s familiarity with her voice and the connection that they had developed before the baby was even born!

“The (newborn observation) has evolved to become a tool which builds relationships in a family instantly. That has become the basis of the success of Healthy Steps, engaging families on a long term basis,” Davis said.

This team of specialists, trained in Boston at the Harvard Medical School NBO program with the Braselton Institute, brings their expertise to Summit Regional Medical Center to enhance the parent/child experience in the White Mountains so that kids will be ready for school and set for life!

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