United Way at Work: Help Me Grow Helps Families Handle Developmental Delays

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Young woman and toddler

Tania was worried about her son. Jason, two years old, seemed to be a bit different than other children his age. While others his age were starting to say full sentences and were excited to be around other kids, Jason didn’t speak at all and seemed not to notice other children.

Tania went to her pediatrician and told him she was concerned about his development. Her doctor said she was panicking about nothing and that she should just wait. If Jason still hadn’t spoken by 3, he recommended they revisit it then. Tania went back a few months later, convinced something was wrong, but again the doctor told her she was overreacting.

Tania just felt that something wasn’t right. She called 2-1-1 and was connected to Help Me Grow. Tania was referred to a location where she could have her son evaluated for developmental delays. She found out her son was autistic and that intervention was needed right away to increase his chances of learning to speak and learn new skills. Taking the “wait and see” approach, like her doctor had recommended, could have had severely inhibited Jason’s development and learning.

Through Help Me Grow, Tania was connected to specialists who developed a comprehensive plan for Jason. He is now able to speak and is constantly learning new words and behaviors. Because Tania advocated on her son’s behalf, he was able to get the help needed to improve his future.

About Help Me Grow

Help Me Grow is a new program offered to Central Florida through a partnership with Heart of Florida United Way. It’s a system that connects at-risk children with the support services they need.

Families, healthcare providers and educators sometimes have difficulties recognizing early signs of developmental or behavioral issues. Even when a child has been diagnosed with a disorder or delay, finding programs designed to address the child’s needs is often complex and overwhelming.

Help Me Grow gives families a simple solution. Not only does it help identify at-risk children, it improves access to existing resources such as doctors, educators, therapists and family counselors.

How Can I Contact Help Me Grow?

Help Me Grow can be reached through Heart of Florida United Way’s 2-1-1 Information and Assistance Helpline. Just dial 2-1-1, text your zipcode to 898-211, or visit the 2-1-1 website to chat with a representative.