When I reached out to a new family referred to our agency for services, they responded skeptically. They indicated they “had just started a parent education program with another agency and did not see the point of doing two different services”. The client stated she was going to call her foster care worker to get clarification and would call me back the next day. The client did not call back the next day but called me back the following Monday (sounding very annoyed) and scheduled an intake session.
During the intake session, both clients appeared annoyed that they had to tell their “story” to yet another person and retake similar tests. I explained that while we would mostly work on Life Skills, I would do my best to not cover the same topic that the other Parent Educator was teaching them. I was able to use the Parents As Teachers curriculum so that even if I was covering the same topic (that had already been covered by the other Parent Educator), it was not necessarily the same material. I was able to teach them how to better communicate with their younger child, who was having speech delays, through the use of baby sign language. The parents seemed to really enjoy that and thought it would really help their toddler. They felt that use of this skill would decrease their frustration when the child was trying to communicate with them. They stated that it would help so that they didn’t have to rely so much on their older child to tell them what the younger one needed.
We also discussed discipline techniques that were not covered by their other Parent Educator. One discipline topic I introduced them to from the Parents As Teachers curriculum was called Natural and Logical consequences. They found this information helpful. Another topic I discussed with them was the value of providing the children with transition times by giving them countdowns when having to change from one activity to another. They did not see the point in this at first, being their children could not tell time. By the end of the discussion they had a better understanding of how important it is to give children that 5 or 10 minutes warning to finish up what they are doing. Once they understood this may be helpful to children having behavioral issues, they were onboard to try it.
At the end of 14 weeks of working with these parents, they told me that they were happy they had the opportunity to work with the AIH program. They felt they learned a lot from me. They told me that I was very easy to talk to and very personable. They were glad they took the chance, even though they were skeptical at first. At our last session, they shared they were starting unsupervised visits with their children the following week. It was great to be able to provide them with the Parents As Teachers curriculum that made a difference in this family’s life.