Everyone agrees Teagan is not shy. The bubbly 4-year old girl loves camping, reading to her brothers and twirling around to the Disney “Frozen” movie soundtrack.
Her personality today is so very different from the 20-month-old toddler who struggled with speech and motor skill delays.
She was difficult to understand and could only speak in two- and three-word phrases,” said Teagan’s mom, Rhea.
Rhea found help for Teagan at the United Way-funded “Birth-To-Three Program” at Curative Care Network, which improves the function and quality of life for persons with disabilities or limiting conditions in seven southeast Wisconsin community-based facilities located throughout Milwaukee and Waukesha Counties.
We know the first three years of a child’s life are central for developmental growth, and if those needs are not met in those early years, that child is at risk for academic struggles later in life” said Tim Coughlin, Education Portfolio Manager at United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County. “I am proud to guide all our United Way program partners to help young children foster healthy brain development and reach their full potential. I help them better align their outcomes to quantifiable, high quality measures, because, all families deserve access to early intervention services for their child.
To help Teagan, the Curative staff put together a service plan that included both long and short term goals, and would provide home-based Early Childhood Education, Speech, Physical and Occupational Therapy sessions.
During each session, the staff taught Teagan and her mom exercises to improve Teagan’s speech and motor skills. They also alerted Teagan’s family about a sensory issue they never realized she had. “She didn’t like the feel of Velcro, or her nylon swimsuit that supposed to help tone her muscles, so it was a struggle,” Rhea said.
By the time Teagan graduated the Birth-To-Three Program, her speech had caught up and her receptive and expressive skills were above average, helping her successfully transition to an early education program at Hales Corner’s Elementary School with her peers.
Last year, approximately 99% of children enrolled in the United Way-funded Birth-To-Three program displayed developmental improvement in communication skills and 100% saw an improvement in motor skills.
Birth-To-Three is by far our largest program, and without United Way’s support we wouldn’t be able to prepare children like Teagan, with the skills they need to enter school ready to succeed,” said Sue Dlouhy, Curative’s Community Relations Director.
Today Teagan still attends physical therapy sessions to strengthen her muscles, but has gained confidence in her ability to one day climb stairs by herself without difficulty. Her sensory issue has also improved.
Three months after she started school, my child who would never put finger paint on her hands gave me a handprint bouquet picture for Mother’s Day. It was really special!” Rhea said.
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