“I think sometimes the biggest challenge is knowing how each child grows and achieves things at their own pace,” says Melissa Bergtold, a parent of three young children in Craig, Alaska.
Melissa and Josh Bergtold started working with staff in the Early Learning Program at Community Connections about ten years ago, to learn about ways to support their children.
The Bergtold family is fivefold: Melissa & Josh (the parents), Carter (now 12 years old), Lincoln (now nine years old) and Madison (almost two years old).
Initially, a doctor referred Carter to Community Connections, and he was the first of the family to receive services.
Carter met with a physical therapist because he was delayed in crawling. Crawling is considered one of the gross motor skills that children learn, along with sitting, standing up, and walking.
Carter progressed to a sort of army crawl, where he would be lying on his stomach and crawling forward. At this point, the therapist worked with him on raising himself up on arms and legs when crawling, instead of lying flat. Soon Carter was crawling normally on his own.
Today, her daughter, Madison, is receiving services because she was born prematurely. Madison has been working with therapists on fine motor skills, and speech and language.
It’s not just the kid receiving services on their own: it’s a whole family event.
“My boys are learning during the visits too. The worker would even tell my boys, what to do to help their sister,” says Melissa.
Madison is the youngest child and she quickly grew comfortable with the Early Learning workers who provide in-home services. Together, they would do activities like putting stickers on a piece of paper to practice fine motor skills.
Melissa says it’s exciting to see her kids reach milestones as they grow up.
Madison squeals in the background of our phone call. The family lives on Prince of Wales Island in Craig, Alaska, and they are outside right now. “Oh, you’re waving at the sky?” Melissa asks Madison.
Milestones for a developing child can range from expanding a vocabulary to asking questions, learning how to catch a ball, liking repetition or learning how to walk.
Melissa says her family will probably exit the Early Learning program soon because Madison has been hitting all her milestones.
“At the same time, you’re like, I’ll miss our weekly visits [with staff.] Seeing Mindy, and Brynn when she would stop by,” says Melissa.
The family stays busy; they recently purchased Papa’s Pizza in Craig, and are running it together.
If you or a family member you know have young children who may be at risk for developmental delays, give our Early Learning staff a call at our Ketchikan or Craig office.