"S" is a rambunctious and adorable 18-month-old boy who has lived at HomeFront with his mother for the last eight months. His mom, "J" is loving and patient, which she says is what she always missed with her own parents. After an initial warm-up period, she now is often the first to greet us at health education class. J always asks great questions, including wondering why her son wasn't quite talking or able to sit still or respond to her cues but seemed to behave well for others. The pediatrician thought maybe she expected too much from her then 12-month-old. 

Through our development initiative with HomeFront staff and families, our CHOP LEND fellows and Melissa Bennett, MD, were able to spend time with staff and observe children in daycare, including S. LEND developmental-behavioral pediatricians and speech therapists offered J a lot of tools for behavioral consistency; ways to sing, read and promote language and development; and resources like connections with Early Intervention. Mom has practiced all with S and excitedly tells us each week about the progress he is making.

Most importantly, we continue to encourage her to feel confident and continue to partner with daycare staff, supports at the shelter, the pediatrician and Early Intervention. J inspires us every day — she is dealing with her own trauma but always thinks about her son first. She shows her strength, empowerment and joy in her words and actions. J is a role model for those around her. We look forward to seeing S as he grows. We hope our advocacy efforts for others like him will make positive changes in systems to offer meaningful evaluations and therapies.