“He definitely has the Southern thing going for him,” Kam’s mom Jasmine fondly describes his extraverted demeanor. He is easygoing, sweet and extremely expressive. No matter what kind of
mood he’s in, you know how Kam is feeling.
However, expression and communication haven’t always come easily to Kam. He faced speech delays, and with speech delays came communication struggles. Kam is emotional, but without the tools to express his feelings, he could resort to crying for 30, 60, 90 minutes at a time.
After nearly a decade working with people with special needs, Jasmine knew early in Kam’s life he would have speech delays, so when he first needed childcare at age one, his parents made a point to find a center that could address those needs.
The center felt like “one big family,” until they came back after the initial pandemic closure. Kam’s new teacher didn’t know how to address his long crying spells, and she didn’t work with him or communicate with Jasmine. With larger ratios and pandemic challenges, it was also difficult to find time to give Kam the individualized care he needed.
To make sure his needs were addressed, Jasmine enrolled Kam at the Elaine Clark Center in late 2020. Not only do small classroom ratios help ECC teaching staff give Kam the care he needs, but the social services and therapy have helped Kam’s communication skills immensely. The staff social worker referred Kam to speech therapy, and both his therapist and the TIP speech therapist have worked with Kam.
“With how much he talks now, I don’t remember a time when he didn’t talk,” Jasmine said.
Jasmine noticed Kam is more willing to work on non-preferred tasks, participate in group settings and engage in his own education. She also keeps in close communication with his teachers and knows they are already preparing him for the transition to kindergarten next year.
Many of Kam’s strides are made with the help of an ECC scholarship. With job and life changes, as well as COVID impacts, Jasmine appreciates that a scholarship minimizes the financial burden of Kam’s care.
"We can have Kam here in a safe environment that caters to his needs, where he can still be able to grow and develop in a smaller setting and prepare him for that next level.”
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