Jayden and Mila Thrive with Support from Our Children’s Services

Photo of the HIcks Family

In 2013, Qiana Hicks made the decision to adopt the two infants in her foster care, Jayden and Mila.

The new mom recognized early on that the children were not meeting some of their developmental milestones, and she began searching for a pre-school that specialized in educating children with developmental delays.

"I discovered Easterseals Southern California after searching online for programs geared toward children with potential learning challenges," she said.  "I wanted to make sure to catch any developmental delays.  After interviewing some staff members and meeting the director, I thought the Easterseals Child Development Center (CDC) in my area would be a good choice -- the facility was really clean and everyone was very nice."

Jayden and Mila enrolled at Easterseals in August of 2014 and Qiana was pleased at the way the center was organized.  "I sat in the classroom and really liked the structure; I thought it would be good for my children to learn positive behaviors and how to interact with other children," she added.

When they first came to the CDC, each child had specific issues.  Jayden had problems with compromised motor skills, rarely spoke, and kept to himself.  Mila faced challenges being separated from her mother, bonding with the teachers, and interacting with other children.

Within a short amount of time, Qiana noticed a significant improvement.  Jayden began walking more steadily; becoming stronger thanks to all the activities he did each day at the CDC.  His mother attributes much of Jayden's overall growth to his teacher who not only teamed with Qiana on a curriculum for home and school, she also alerted Qiana to behavioral and potential hearing problems with Jayden, that resulted in her being directed to resources that provided a hearing aid and a diagnosis of autism. 

Now, at age three, thanks to an educational course matched to his unique learning challenges, Jayden can read, count, recognize his ABCs by sight and sound and enunciate words.

Mila is blossoming as well -- talking more, interacting with other children and expressing her opinions.  "Mila's teachers have helped her to use her words and pushed her to communicate instead of pointing and grunting -- helping her getting over being 'selectively mute' when she was shy or afraid," said Qiana.

“The Early Head Start Services Jayden and Mila have been receiving at Easterseals Child Development Centers has given them social, emotional and education skills to prepare them for kindergarten and beyond,” said Elizabeth Mulligan, area director, Easterseals Child Development Centers. 

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