Understanding How Cultural Roots and Identity Shape Child-Rearing, Feeding, and Perceptions of Early Intervention Services
2. Who did your project inform, help, influence or impact? (UCEDD, individual, community, state) How?
The ENRICH Early Intervention team works with the Rocky Mountain Health and Human Services in the Denver Metro area for providing early intervention services for children birth to age three. Though the emphasis for culturally competent care among providers working with individuals with disabilities is growing in Colorado, there hasn’t been an initiative to specifically target in-home providers. This project was developed to inform early intervention providers of the cultural differences in family and child-rearing practices and make aware of the questions that providers should consider when working with families in the home.
3. Why did you choose to work on that project(s)?
I chose to work on this project because during the regular ENRICH staff meetings, some of the providers had questions about cultural differences during mealtime and family routines. These questions were important to consider in making individualized recommendations. This sparked a discussion between my advisor and I on how important it was that in-home providers understand these differences to provide the best care for children and their families.
4. What did you gain from being a Diversity Fellow?
As a provider, so much of our interactions with families come from the lens of our professional training and expertise. It is often difficult to spend the extra time to get to know an individual and families beyond the immediate concerns they have. Through this fellowship, I was richly blessed to have the opportunity to discover the differences that characterize the children and families we work with. Culture shapes families and individuals as well as the perceptions of disability and professional relationships. It is vitally important that providers understand these ideas in providing care for children in early intervention.
5. How will this experience impact your education or career decisions?
After this experience, I am invested in furthering culturally competent care in the community and within the University setting. I hope to continue my efforts by joining an in-house committee to assess, plan and implement diversity in various practices of the institution.
6. What are your future goals? Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
In 5 years from now, I hope to work exclusively with children with developmental and special healthcare needs as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. I also hope to collaborate with other providers doing research studies in the area of nutrition and disability.
7. What recommendations do you have for other Fellows?
Take full advantage of the Fellowship! There are so many opportunities to meet providers, community agencies, and observe/participate in interdisciplinary teams. Get out of your comfort zone and reach out, ask, and intentionally look for the opportunities that will further enhance your experience. It’s worth it!