Meeting Families Where They Are

Early Intervention makes a difference


Katelynn is six years old and was born and raised in the Bronx NY, to parents with a background rooted in the values and customs of the Dominican Republic. She lives with her mother, father, an aunt and her maternal grandparents. 

Katelynn was presenting with a variety of behaviors in the classroom including difficulty focusing, an internal preoccupation, and having imaginary friends with whom she had loud conversations. She did not have friends outside of school and was most comfortable relating to adults. 

While the teachers and clinicians communicated the behaviors to her family, it was difficult for her mom to accept, saying that she was not displaying the same behavior at home; and that if she is misbehaving, it is because she is “spoiled.”

At the same time, her grandparents did not believe in mental health and promised to go to church more often so no consideration was given to having her evaluated.  

Katelynn’s mom indicated that her dad was resistant to seeking professional help and that she was afraid to speak with him about it.  Our staff, recognizing a cultural disconnect, sought ways to work with the family, including speaking with the mother about Katelynn’s potential and their dreams of success for her. They introduced new ideas of living and learning to benefit Katelynn.

Her grandparents agreed that it would be a good idea to learn more about her functioning at school. With the help of the family and our staff, Katelynn’s father met with Astor’s team but was resistant to the idea that his daughter needed to be “diagnosed.” 

They also spoke with the father in Spanish about his “American dream” of education.  The Astor team talked about finding ways to teach Katelynn in a way that would best
help her to succeed.

After many discussions, the family finally accepted help, and in the end, the father stated, “I trust you and so do my in-laws. I will give it a try.” 

Katelynn is now receiving services at Astor and is more relaxed. She said that her parents are “less worried” about her now, since receiving services at the clinic. 

During a parent-teacher conference, her mother said that the grandparents, now include Astor in their prayers of guidance for their little princess, Katelynn.


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