Interview with Cindy Tovar
I enjoy the challenge of working with children with special needs. There is so much joy when they achieve even the smallest accomplishment. It means so much because you know how long it took to get there. Every step forward is a celebration!
Cindy traces her interest in working with children all the way back to her first job in a day care. “I always felt comfortable playing with kids and we tend to gravitate towards each other,” she says. While working towards a college degree in psychology, Cindy participated in an internship program that offered respite care for children with autism. “I was placed with different families with kids of various ages, and that’s where I learned the variety of ways that autism presents itself.”
Fluent in Spanish, Cindy went on to work with low-income Hispanic families teaching them how to interact and play with their babies. “We’d talk about developmental milestones, the ones they’d reached and the ones they were still missing. Educating parents in this way resulted in some very positive changes for their infants.”
Cindy joined the staff of CTC in May of 2015. In addition to home visits, she runs small, structured playgroups that specifically support social communication and sensory needs (Building Bridges) and a Spanish language playgroup.
“I love doing both home visits and playgroups. The basic strategies I use with a child are often the same in both settings. Generally, I try to find what the child is interested in and use that to get them to engage with me somehow. After the child is comfortable, I start to make more demands of them by providing them with structure and setting higher expectations. The goal is to help them with transitions as well as learn to accept another person’s ideas and follow directions.”