Early Intervention program helps infant in midst of pandemic    

Courtesy photoPhysical therapist Tara White with Kathaleia Delgado.

METHUEN — As if having a baby in the middle of a global pandemic wasn't hard enough, one local family had extra hurdles to jump when they realized their daughter had problems moving her right arm.

Last April, Angélica Cruz and Josué Delgado welcomed their daughter Kathaleia during the first months of this global pandemic. 

Within a few months of her being born, however, the new parents noticed the infant wasn’t using her right arm much.

They contacted their pediatrician who referred them to the Professional Center for Childhood Development's Early Intervention, or EI, program in Andover.

This is a program — paid for by insurance or through the state Department of Public Health — that helps families whose babies are having any sort of physical health issues.

"We were directed to the right people," Angélica Cruz said. 

At first, PCCD physical therapist Tara White was able to visit the Cruz family in their Methuen home.

During the home visits, Angelica remembers that “from the beginning Katha has been a sponge, absorbing everything and putting it into practice. Everything was perfect.”  

But then it all changed. 

As COVID-19 cases started to rise in the area, home visits were suspended. Katha began receiving Early Intervention therapy via Telehealth.

Fortunately, the baby responded well, said her mother.

“We encouraged Kathaleia to stimulate the use of her right hand with toys, textures and lights,” Angélica said.   

As restrictions have eased, the family has been able to bring the child back to center-based visits.

“Katha continues to work on her coordination. She is able to roll over on her own, sit upright, crawl and, with help, she stands on her little feet,” Angélica said. "PCCD brought into our lives the tools that we need to support our baby’s development.” 

The family shared, “Even though the pandemic continues… we feel more than grateful for being present and supported each step that our little girl manages to take.”

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