Parents facing developmental delays in their children are not alone, thanks to the Scioto County Help Me Grow program, at the South Central Ohio Educational Service Center in New Boston.
Help Me Grow provides services to expecting mothers and to children age 3 and under with developmental delays. The program works closely with the Scioto County Board of Developmental Disabilities, which provides early childhood developmental specialist to evaluate the children and work closely to build their muscles, speech, and motor skills. The program is available to anyone, regardless of their income.
Home Visitor Laura Estep has been with Help Me Grow for nearly eight years, assisting many families.
“It’s a great feeling to go in and help them in any way I can, and they help me too. We become friends, and get together, and our visits are very enjoyable,” Estep said. “Some of them don’t have parents they can talk to, especially if they’re pregnant and going through it for the first time. That’s what I’m here for.”
Jodi Lockhart, of West Portsmouth, was introduced to the program six years ago when she learned she was pregnant with her first child, who has autism and developmental delays.
“Laura would come regularly, and she would teach me things. I was given so many books, and we would do fun activities like games and homemade things. It was a lot of fun, and I learned a lot,” Lockhart said. “Help Me Grow helped me find the intervention I needed, and helped me open that door for my daughter, and now my daughter is talking and making eye-contact.”
She returned to the program, and to Laura Estep, when she learned she was pregnant again with her son.
“I have been going to her house for six years,” Estep said. “We’re going to keep in touch. Maybe go out to lunch, or something, because we’re friends and we have that bond. When you’re with someone for five or six years, you definitely have that bond. It’s a good feeling to help others.”
For more information about the South Central Ohio ESC, visit online at www.scoesc.org, or follow on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.