ECI Success Stories
2014 DARS Annual Report - "Together, we make it possible."
The Shawver quadruplets from Fort Worth are featured on page 9.
Two of our ECI families are highlighted on the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services website.
Read about Caleb and Audrey:
Interview with an ECI Parent
How did you first hear about ECI?
We were first introduced to ECI when our daughter graduated from the NICU after a 2 month stay. The NICU nurses and neonatologist spoke highly about the
program as a resource if we ever felt Whitney needed extra help. ECI was mentioned by several specialist we saw at Cook Children’s as a potential
resource if we ever needed it too.
What did you know or think about ECI when you first heard about it for Clayton?
When our pediatrician initially suggested we have Clayton evaluated I was honestly disappointed. I felt like why again? He is a
“term” baby and shouldn’t need help if we were “doing our job” as parents well. I was concerned that there might not be enough
resources through ECI since I had read about funding cuts. I knew that there had been numerous changes to the program since Whitney
graduated and I wasn’t sure how that would change things for our family.
Judith didn't know about ECI when someone at a local shelter referred her for services for her son.
"He was traumatized. I was scared...very very scared because I didn't know about ECI," she said. "Isaura, my early childhood intervention
alist with ECI, was the first person to say it's going to be okay. Your children will get help. I was ready to give up and go back to Africa... She is the most encouraging person I know!"
Loch, her 2-year-old son, would not speak any words.
With support from ECI, Loch was able to start talking.
"He talks," Judith said. "He opened up... now he says: "Mommy I want food!"
Judith said she wanted to give up, but ECI and Isaura kept her engaged by connecting her to the services she needed in the community. Now, she lives in her own apartment, and her children are enrolled in an early learning center in the neighborhood.
"It didn't just change my son's life. IT CHANGED MY LIFE, TOO," Judith said.
Isabella was a surprise baby but everything was normal, said Karen, proud mom of Isabella and her three siblings. “Except we kept waiting for her to cry,” she said. “Isabella was just quiet.”
At about one year, we knew she was different. She wasn’t talking but would just screech. At her 18-month appointment, her pediatrician referred us to ECI.
“I didn’t know what ECI was. I didn’t know how I would feel about them coming into my home,” she said. “That all went away. (Isabella) is best here in her home.” Amy, an ECI speech therapist, came into our lives about three months ago. “She is like a really good coach,” Karen said. “She is supportive, understanding and hard. She gave us tangible advice on every interaction with Isabella.”
Amy asked what we would be doing normally during her first visit. “It was snack time. And Amy asked to tag along,” Karen said. “She coached me to offer Isabella a choice of snacks and the change has been amazing. Even though she couldn’t talk yet, she could communicate with me. That was amazing.” Amy has come once a week for three months to provide coaching and teaching to Karen as well as Isabella’s dad and two older siblings.
“She’s a teacher and all of us have benefited,” Karen said. “I feel like I’m a better parent because of Amy.
"I never knew that the first call to ECI …when I was confused and scared…Now I am confident. It’s been an amazing transformation for my family."
Diana's pediatrician recommended ECI to her parents.
Through an interpreter, Diana's parents have received ECI coaching and support for more than two years.
When Diana started ECI she was about 9 months old and was not hitting her milestones.
"We were very excited because this was going to help her," said Mina, Diana's dad.
With help from her physical and occupational therapists along with a specialized skills trainer, the ECI team provided tips and coaching to Diana's mom and dad, who would rearrange his work schedule to be available for her ECI appointments. Aida, who helped translate the ECI team's coaching into Arabic, said that the ECI model worked for this family. The mom would write down the plan goals and would work with Diana to meet each goal.
"She could not move, stand or put weight on her hands," Mina said. "They helped her a lot."
She soon worked under the ECI primary service provider model and her speech therapist provided therapy as well as service coordination.
"Anything we suggested, they followed through with," said Sue, Diana's speech therapist.
Sue said the ECI model worked because often Diana would not want to work directly with the therapists. But if the therapist prompted mom, then Diana would participate. Also, sometimes Diana's little sister would participate and that would encourage Diana to participate. It was a family affair.
One week away from turning 3 and transitioning out of ECI services, Diana is preparing for the HEB PPCD program. "It would have been miserable (without ECI)," Mina said.
But Sue said Mina, his wife and Diana did all the work.
"They do all the work, they work the magic," she said. "We facilitate and coach. It's been very special.'
My Name is Zahnah, I'm 2 -1/2
Before we had ECI services, we couldn't communicate with her at all. She couldn't walk and her only form of communication was screaming and throwing a fit.
ECI has helped us for a year first with her behavior and then with her speech and walking. ECI helped develop skills so she can learn how to communicate and we can see triggers of her behavior and calm her down. Her communications skills have considerably improved. She can say and sign words. She lets us know what's wrong - and she's walking. She was a happy baby but has lots of issues (she has global developmental delays and likely a sensory processing disorder.). After 6 months with ECI she was happier because she could tell us what was wrong.
They also helped me with management tools for when I get frustrated with her - it wasn't her fault but they taught me how to manage my stress level, which has dropped and so has hers.
- Clota, Zahnah's mom
Emma & Family
We are first time parents and much like first time parents we have read many baby books, what to expect when your expecting, intro to motherhood/ fatherhood. It was all useful information but it didn't prepare us for cerebral palsy and development delays.
ECI has truly been a blessing, they understood the overwhelming feeling of all the doctor visits. They even went with us to Emma's appointment. They have supported us emotionally and comforted us with words of encouragement. The most important thing ECI has done for us is that they have showed us how to bond with our baby through therapy sessions. We can never repay them for that.
People say it takes a village to raise a child. and ECI is a part of that village.
Thank you ECI and everyone involved. You have made a difference in our lives.
-David, Emma's dad
Becca enjoys communicating and telling stories. When Becca was 2 she talked, but most of her words were incomprehensible especially when she put two or more words together.
Becca’s parents enrolled her in ECI services, and they quickly saw noticeable improvements. Her mom said: “We were provided with suggestions that we were able to implement right away. We made a special book with pictures to go along with words that Becca had the hardest time speaking. Within a few months, if Becca used one word most were understandable.”
Kai has Down syndrome and began ECI services at about 2 months old. He has a team comprised of a physical therapist, occupational therapist, dietician and service coordinator. Most recently Kai has started VitalStim® Therapy – an electronic signal to help build his swallowing skills.
Beverly is legally blind and has an ECI behavioral therapist and speech therapist. She’s been in ECI since she was 1; her sister was in ECI for two years. ECI has been a lifesaver … If you’re at your end of the rope, ECI really does come in and change your life.
“Our ECI team became our cheerleaders,” said Jeff, Scotty’s dad. “They came into our home and taught us important skills to help Scotty eat and exercise as well as helped us find ways to improve his quality of life.”
We had a lot of hopeless things said to us from the beginning … After her diagnosis of cerebral palsy, ECI engaged speech and physical therapy. They laughed with me, and they cried with me. They gave me hope.
Thanks to ECI, Brooks now colors, plays with his cars and can sign.
Hunter, 1, had torticollis, which is when muscles in the neck are tight causing a shortening of the muscles on one side. The ECI team helped with stretching and massaging. Now his torticollis is resolved, and he’s learning to walk!
When Madelyn was born, the major arteries of her heart were switched. At 12 hours old she had emergency surgery. “Everyone thought she was going to die,” mom said. “But she continued to flourish.”
Aidan was referred to ECI by his pediatrician who was concerned about delays in development. He works with Amy, his service coordinator, and Lindsey, his specialized skills trainer (SST).