Doing More Good with Head Start



Many parents enroll their children in Head Start to participate in our speech therapy program. That's true of Maria Viant, a recent addition to the Head Start community. Originally from Cuba, Mrs. Viant set down roots in North Carolina as a member of the U.S. Military, finding herself and her family a supportive home in Fayetteville. Relocating from Florida, Mrs. Viant recounts feeling that North Carolina would be a better place to raise her son.

Initially, her son received speech therapy services from the Children’s Developmental Services Agency (CDSA) but aged out of the program at three years old. With a recommendation from her case manager at CDSA, Mrs. Viant applied for her son to be enrolled in Head Start to continue his speech therapy. After applying at Head Start’s main office on Morganton Road, Mrs. Viant’s son was quickly accepted into the program to prevent any service interruption in his speech therapy, and Mrs. Viant has been a proud supporter of Head Start ever since.

Not only did Mrs. Viant’s son begin these lessons with Head Start, he started building his socialization skills, which Mrs. Viant and her husband desperately wanted for their only child.

“We tried putting him in sports or something, just to get the social part, but he would get kicked out because he was very aggressive. He didn’t know how to act around other children,” Mrs. Variant recalls. “Now, all that is gone! He is very friendly, he waits his turn, he’s patient in line. If he has a toy, he gives it to his friend; he doesn’t mind sharing now.”

Interacting daily with many other children and qualified teachers, Mrs. Viant’s son has made tremendous strides. In addition to her three-year-old's advances in social settings, his vocabulary has also expanded, according to Mrs. Viant. She has witnessed an eagerness to learn and play with others. She noted that every classroom has a routine to get the student acclimated to school life. She was impressed that practices from home are enforced as well. Students must wash their hands, brush their teeth after meals, and help clean the classroom. "Head Start is much more holistic and brings the family together," notes Mrs. Viant.

With all these lessons in mind, Mrs. Viant says she would recommend Head Start to other parents and not only to those searching for speech therapy options. “This is a great program, especially for families and children who don’t have the opportunity to enroll in daycare. This is a good start for them!”

To find out more about how you can do your part and help Action Pathways programs like Head Start, visit: