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Aprendamos Intervention Team


 Fall 2017 Newsletter!


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AprendamosNewsletter Fall 2017 cover



Letter from the CEO

This month we celebrated 12 years of providing intentional and meaningful services to families and children in southern New Mexico.

It has been my honor and privilege to lead and support the amazing staff here at Aprendamos. Together, we have grown this organization and as a result we are offering ser­vices that are changing the fabric of our community. We are investing in our infants, toddlers and school-age children who will one day be our leaders in the community.

Today, we have seven programs under Aprendamos supporting children and families in the community that include: Aprendamos early intervention (birth to three); Esperanza Children’s Therapy (three to 18 years of age); Alegria Family Counseling; Mariposa Autism Service Center; Conscious Fathering Program (supporting first time dads); Community Based Child Abuse Preven­tion Program; Cariño Home Visiting (prenatal to 3 years of age).

It is our vision to continue supporting staff doing this important work. There­fore, as an Aprendamos Leadership Team we are committed to creating a space for learning, growth, and an environment that recognizes the passion of each employee. It is also our goal to continue cultivating the important relation­ships with our community partners so that we work together to support fam­ilies in building a strong developmental foundation for their children. It will be through these connections that we will continue to provide children in our community with experiences that will have a positive long term effect on their developing brain.

To our families, I thank you for opening up your home and allowing us to be part of your family. As an organization, we look forward to growing along with your child and celebrating the developmental gains your child will make along their journey.

I look forward to working with each of you as we continue to meet the needs of our community.


Newsletter | Fall 2017

 Cariño: Showing Love & Cultivating Families 


by Josie Ramirez, MSW, MPH


Parenting is difficult and does require a village of support. What a child experiences in their first years of life makes a big difference in how their brain will develop and how they will interact throughout their lives.


Aprendamos Intervention Team is now offering prenatal, parenting and child development educa­tion through its new program entitled “Cariño” Home Visiting.


There are no income requirements to be enrolled in Cariño Home Visiting. Family’s qualify if you are Expectant parents, or parents with children birth to three years of age. Grandparents raising Grandchildren, or any legal guardian qualify.


Families enrolled in the program receive one-to-one education in the convenience of their home. A home visitor is assigned to each family and home visits are flexible to accommo­date the needs of the family. In addition to parenting, and child development education, families will also receive education on nutrition, breastfeeding, car seat and home safety.


There are many benefits of home visiting. The Home Visitor offers support to the family, answers questions about the baby’s development and helps connects the family to resources in their community. Additionally, families will also benefit from the home visiting lending library where home visitors bring children’s books to the home and parents are able to check out at least two books at a time and return them at their next visit. Introduc­ing literacy early provides children the opportunity for a greater chance of being successful during the school years and will also increase parent-child interaction.


To refer, register or to obtain more information on the Cariño Home Visiting Program please contact Josie Ramirez, Program Manager at or (575) 526-6682.

Newsletter | Fall 2017

Becoming a Father

by Joshua Stoller, Conscious Fathering Outreach Coordinator

The mission of the Conscious Fathering Program of Southern New Mexico is to help educate and provide information to new and expecting fathers in our community. The class brings fathers together to provide them the skills and tools needed for becoming a father. Instructors cover the “how-to” top­ics of: proper holding techniques, cleaning, dressing, and baby’s basic needs. Becoming a parent is a life-changing experience of fun, excitement, but also stress. We strive ensure that our fathers are educated on handlingstress and exploring healthy methods of minimizing tension.


The Conscious Fathering Team has trained six new instructors who are ambitious in educating and providing mentorship to fathers. Our instructors are real fathers who want to offer a social support, share experiences, and help fathers as they begin their journey through parenthood. Our team is currently looking to expand its number of instructors in the fall of 2017 with bilingual speaking instructors to better accommodate our community.


Classes are currently held in Las Cruces at Alegria Family Therapy and Turning Point of Las Cruces. Classes will soon be held throughout Doña Ana County including Hatch, Anthony, and Mesquite. In the fall of 2017, Conscious Fathering is expanding and offering classes in Luna, Otero, Sierra, and Grant counties.


To register for a class or to receive more information please contact Joshua Stoller, Conscious Fathering Outreach Coordi­nator at or 575-526-6682. Also, See our Conscious Fathering Program Facebook page @ConsciousFatheringProgramSNM for class schedules, parenting tips, and resources.


Newsletter | Fall 2017

Preventing Abuse and Neglect in our Community

by Claudia Martinez


Child abuse and neglect are significant public health problems in the United States. In New Mexico, there were 40, 855 total referrals for child abuse and neglect in 2015 alone. Of those referrals, 21,798 were referred for investigation (CWLA, 2017). Most child abuse cases occur within the family. According to the child protective service agencies, about 683,000 chil­dren were victims of child abuse or neglect in 2015. Some risk factors for child abuse include a parent or parents with a type of mental health issue, a parental history of childhood abuse, and domestic violence. Children who are abused not only end up suffering from physical injuries, but also are often affected by psychological injuries from abuse. Abused children often develop mental health issues, social develop­ment issues, they can develop high risk-taking behavior like smoking or drug abuse, or they can be delayed in their academic progress.


It is not always easy to recognize when a child has been abused or is being neglected. Injuries that can be physi­cally seen are the biggest red flags. Here are some other warning signs of child abuse and neglect that are import­ant to learn:

• Difficulty walking or sitting

• Difficulty sleeping or having nightmares

• Anti-social, fearful, or withdrawn behavior

• Decline in academic performance, progress, or academic attendance

• Frequent complaints of unexplainable stomach aches or headaches


Child abuse and neglect can be preventable in New Mexico with help from the Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention Program (CBCAP). The CBCAP is under the Children, Youth & Families Department (CYFD) and aims to support community-based efforts in order to develop, operate, expand, enhance, and coordinate initia­tives, programs, and activities to prevent child abuse and neglect. The CBCAP grant has provided the state of New Mexico with the opportunity to support direct service delivery programs, training, and public awareness activities focused on child abuse and neglect prevention. With programs such as the CBCAP and help from the community of New Mexico, New Mexico can become a better and safer place for children to grow and thrive.


The parents or primary/secondary caregivers of children 0-5 years of age must meet the program requirements. Family must not have an active case open with CYFD at the time of referral or have a substantiated case within the last 6 months. If you or someone you know are interested in this program, please contact Brandy Vasquez at 575-526-6682 or at for more information.


Newsletter | Fall 2017


First steps to seeking therapy

by Claudia Martinez


Making the decision to seek therapy for you or your family can be a dif­ficult and resistant process. It can be hard for someone to decide that ther­apy is needed and when it is needed. It can be even harder for someone to decide for the whole family that they all need to seek therapy together. There may be a lot of doubt, uncertainty, or confusion when deciding when it is best for you or your family to seek therapy. When you decide to seek therapy for yourself or with your family, you are gaining the ability to move forward in life. You are gaining the opportunity to work through problems properly and you are gaining the opportunity to learn more about yourself.


But why would anyone feel the need to see a therapist? Here are a few reasons why:

• Specific goals or issues have been identified that you wish to work on

• You or your family need help coping with a traumatic event

• Relationship with spouse or children are strained

• You have behavioral, academic, or mental concerns for you or your children

• Feelings of depression or unusual behavior in yourself or your children


Individual or family therapy can also be beneficial for you or for a child with a mental health issue. Accord­ing to Mental Health America’s Annual Report for 2016, an estimated 43.7 million adult Americans experience a mental health condition. When it comes to young adults ranging in age 12-17, about 1.7 million young Americans are experiencing severe depression (MHA, 2016). Some signs and symptoms of a mental illness in adults, young adults, and adolescents include:

• Confused thinking

• Prolonged depression

• Social withdrawal

• Dramatic changes in eating or sleeping habits

• Strange thoughts or delusions


There are many benefits to seeking therapy from a licensed professional. The first step towards getting help is deciding to get help. Alegria Family Counseling offers a vide variety of services available to you and your family.

For more information or to answer any questions you may have, please call our office at 575-652-3155 or email us at­port%202016%20FINAL.pdf


Newsletter | Fall 2017



What is Autism?

by Claudia Martinez


Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a mental developmental disorder that impairs a child’s ability to communi­cate and interact with other people, according to the Mayo Clinic. The term “spectrum” in autism spectrum disorder refers to the wide range of symptoms and the severity that can be found in each case. The uniqueness of each person with autism makes the experience of living with autism different for each family. However, there are some consistent themes that most families should be aware of in order to be able to provide the best support to the individual and to family members.


There are more than 200,000 cases of autism in the United States per year. That is 1 in every 68 births in the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s annual report in 2016. Autism is 4.5 times more prevalent in boys than girls. Currently, ASD does not have a single known cause. But increased awareness, early diagnosis, and early intervention can lead to significantly improved results in children.


What are some symptoms of Autism?

• Fails to respond to his or her name or appears to not hear you at times

• Resists cuddling or holding and seems to prefer playing alone

• Has poor eye contact and lacks facial expressions

• Performs repetitive movements such as rocking, spinning, or head-banging

• Moves constantly

• Does not engage in imitative or make-believe play


Signs of autism usually tend to appear between 2 and 3 years of age. In some cases, autism can be diagnosed as early as 18 months in a child. In other cases, children are sometimes not diagnosed with ASD until after the age of 4. Symptoms and necessary treatment for a child can change as children grow and go through different phases of life. The quality of life for someone with ASD depends not only on the foundation provided during childhood, but also from ongoing support that is specific to individual needs. The demands of living with a person with autism are great and families frequently experience high levels of stress. Recognizing and preparing for the challenges in store will make a big difference to everyone involved.


While there is no cure for autism spectrum disorder, early and intensive treatment can make a big difference in the devel­opment of a child’s life. With proper services and information, children with autism will grow and flourish at a different developmental rate than typically developing children. Early intervention can help to minimize disruptive or self-harming behaviors, and behavior therapy can teach self-help skills for greater independence in a child’s life.


If you suspect your child of having ASD, it is important to discuss any concerns with your family doctor. Mariposa Autism Service Center (MASC) provides therapy to children with autism in Las Cruces. MASC utilizes Applied Behavior Analytic techniques to teach new skills to children with autism. For more information or if you have any questions about our program, please call our office at 575-652-3155 or email us at


Newsletter | Fall 2017

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