But what happens when the first steps don’t come, when the first words don’t appear, when a child does not walk, does not speak? This is a challenging time for parents, in many ways. Support can be critical. And early intervention can make a tremendous difference in the life of a child.
The government of Peru is expanding services for infants and toddlers with disabilities. We’re excited to have “adopted” two programs. They’re called PRITE (Programa de Intervencion Temprana), which means “early intervention program.” One is located in the San Manuelito school in San Ramon, in the central jungle, and the other is in Huancayo, high in the Andes mountains.
I received an email from our friend, Edith Cossio Calderon, director of the San Ramon program, with pictures of some of the children. This program just opened last year and serves about 30 children. The children have diagnoses such as Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy, hydrocephalus, seizure disorders, and developmental delay. Edith is hoping we can help build walls to divide a large room into smaller classrooms. With teachers, parents, therapists, babies, and toddlers all in one room, it’s difficult to provide the best services. She’s also hoping we can help with materials to enhance cognitive and sensorimotor development and language stimulation. She knows exactly what she needs, exactly what the children need. She just needs some help to provide it.
Sometimes progress comes in baby steps. Edith and her colleagues, Alicia, Gloria, and Elvira, are giving these precious young children the opportunity to learn and grow, and even, perhaps, to walk and talk.