When Karis Johnson was 35 weeks pregnant, doctors told her that her baby wasn't growing properly and that the prognosis was bleak.
Johnson and her husband, Mike, prepared for the worst, but also held onto hope for their daughter, Harper Hope, who is almost 2 years old now and thriving.
"Harper has been a constant fighter," her father said.
The family is encouraging her healthy development and addressing her developmental delays with help from the
HOPE Infant Family Support, a program run by the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE).
The family and intervention specialist Rosemary Stein are featured in a video produced by videographer Larry Edelman, who creates videos for The
access Project. This Napa County Office of Education project is funded by the California Department of Education and supports teachers, administrators, and families of students with special needs from birth to 5 years old.
The video is one of many in the Desired Results
video library that highlights the work of early education specialists across the state. It will be used to help early intervention providers and families understand recommended practices in early intervention. It's also available on the
HOPE Infant Family Support webpage.
The short documentary is particularly special for Stein, who is retiring later this year.
"I'm honored to be a little piece of their story and I will cherish your video because you so artfully captured what early intervention is all about," she said. "It is a beautiful bookend to a career I loved."
Over the past six months, Edelman has spent time in San Diego County capturing footage to be used in professional development programs when he came across the Johnson's story, which he thought was so compelling that he created the short video with them.
"I think Karis describes early intervention better than anyone I've heard," Edelman said. "When I heard her, I said, 'We have to do this.' "
In the video, Karis Johnson said she appreciates that Stein was able to support and guide her through Harper's development.
"She knows exactly where Harper is versus where Harper should be," she said. "It's nice to have a coach there behind me."
Edelman filmed the footage at the Johnsons' home in February and April. Within a week of being posted on the web, the video was shown at a national meeting of state education administrators.
Edelman said he hopes to follow Harper's story as she grows older.
In addition to filming local families and early education specialists, Edelman is teaching employees of the HOPE Infant Program how to record, edit, and store video.
The HOPE Infant Family Support Program is a public special education program that offers services to infants and toddlers with special needs and their families. Services are available to children from birth to 3 years old who are showing significant delay in at least one area of development or have a condition with a known probability of causing a disability or delay.
"The video about the Johnsons highlights the hard work of the programs intervention specialists," said Lucia Garay, executive director of Early Education Programs and Services for SDCOE. "It's the epitome of what we want for every family."