On June 1, 2017, twins Anderson and Aerolynn Hall came into the world 10 weeks early. Anderson weighed in at two pounds and Aerolynn weighed three pounds, a pound and a half of this was water weight. This was due to a side effect of Cloacal Anomaly, a condition affecting the development of the lower abdominal structures. This condition affects one of every 20,000 female births. This defect is one of the most formidable technical challenges in pediatric surgery. Aerolynn has earned the nickname of “fighter” because of the multiple surgeries she has endured since birth and more that will come. One of many includes a G-tube to supplement her nutritional needs throughout the day. Eight months ago, the twins were enrolled with the Center for Human Services Early Head Start (EHS) program. Classroom five at the Harris Center is now their “home away from home.” Teachers Christy and Emily work daily on encouraging Aerolynn to hold her own bottle during feedings, getting her to sit up on her own, encouraging her to roll over, increasing social interactions and encouraging sounds. She loves to play pat-a-cake and receive kisses and soft touches of encouragement from her best friend & brother, Anderson, who has been with her every step of the way. Both twins have shown growth in social, emotional, and communication skills since attending the EHS program at the Harris Center. Anderson is using more words every day and has shown growth in physical skills. When he started with EHS, he was just beginning to walk. He can now walk, run, squat, and enjoys playing with his classmates. Anderson and Aerolynn are two of eight children in the EHS classroom. Four of these are dually enrolled in EHS and First Steps. First Steps is Missouri’s Early Intervention system that provides services to families with children birth to three years of age with disabilities or developmental delays. Currently, there are 23 children dually enrolled in EHS and First Steps. Eleven of those children attend the Harris Center. The remainder are enrolled in our Childcare Partnership option and the Home Visitation option. Nancy Davidson, EHS Health and Disabilities Coordinator remarks “EHS and First Steps have a great working relationship which improves services for the children and families. “Anderson and Aerolynn’s family have stated how grateful they are and shares: “The staff at the Early Head Start Harris Center have become our family. They give every child the best care. Everyone is so supportive and willing to do anything they can to help children reach their goals.”For more information on the Early Head Start and First Steps programs provided by The Center for Human Services, contact us at 660-826-4400.