From Two Phrases to Two-Word Sentences: Patrick’s Home-Visiting Education Journey
As Patrick was turning 3, his vocabulary was limited to just a few words. The most frequent ones being one-word commands. His mother, Tina, knew they needed help, but wasn’t sure where to begin. When she learned about The Family Conservancy’s Home-based Head Start program, she reached out and enrolled.
In the first of the weekly 90-minute sessions, Patrick’s home-visiting educator, Susan, discussed goals and challenges, and worked on a plan with Tina. They decided to start by focusing on improving Patrick’s speech. Despite his initial reluctance towards books, Susan suggested leveraging his interests in superheroes and trucks to get him excited about books, and encouraged Tina to find time to read together every day.
The next week, Susan brought a few books that aligned with Patrick’s interests and modeled some techniques like talking about pictures, using fun voices and pointing out words. Susan continued to find creative ways to incorporate his passions into the learning process. On another visit, she spread a huge sheet of paper out on the living room floor and drew an intricate road with colorful parking spots for Patrick to drive his trucks on. Susan used this activity to introduce color and transportation words that Patrick would use frequently.
Under Susan’s guidance and Tina’s dedication, Patrick’s vocabulary blossomed. He quickly began constructing two-word sentences. As Patrick’s speech advanced, so did his independence. Tina, eagerly embraced her role as an advocate for her child. With each visit, Patrick’s progress grew more evident, and Tina’s determination amplified.
As Patrick continued to make progress, Tina surpassed her concerns of developmental delays and became excited about enrolling him in preschool. Susan’s guidance and support enabled her to make informed decisions and equipped Tina with the tools necessary to navigate challenges.
Co-parenting introduced challenges. Understanding the importance of consistency, Susan used this as an opportunity to model consistency and provide calm guidance and redirection so that both parents were embracing a more compassionate approach.
Susan’s last home visit was a bitter-sweet experience. She was sad to leave the family, but with Patrick well prepared to transition to a Head Start center, and his parent’s growth as educators and advocates, he was well on his way to success.
Names and details may have been changed to protect identities.