WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) --- "A lot of times we have a hard time being able to understand what our children are saying to us or trying to figure out what it is they want. And I don't have that problem."
Dorothy Tramun loves how her two-year-old son, Rassan, is growing while attending Kidspace, a child development center within the House of Ruth, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization fighting abuse and homelessness.
"If he's crying, he can tell me why. If he's upset, he can tell me why," Tramun explains of Rassan's clear verbal communication skills.
Kidspace is a nationally-accredited center currently serving 55 children who have escaped domestic violence and experienced homelessness. Children attending are six weeks to 5 years old.
"Being born into a homeless family is really hard on a child. It's chaotic, unstable and those environments really impede development across all the developmental domains," said Carolyn Stevens, director of development at the House of Ruth.
Teachers use therapeutic and nurturing techniques on the children.
"We don't use the simple time-out; we're working directly working with the child to engage with that child and ensure them that everything is going to be okay," said Stevens.
Kidspace encourages children to reach normal stages of development before entering school: socially, emotionally and intellectually.
"Our goal here is to get the children on a developmental level, if they go beyond that, that's great. But because they are from homeless families, most are behind their peers," said Stevens.
Two of Tramun's oldest children have done exceptionally well after attending Kidspace. The two children have skipped a grade in school.
Years ago Tramun left an abusive home with her children. The House of Ruth was able to get her temporary housing and enrolled her children in Kidspace.
"Without Kidspace, I may be unemployed. I think I could because I think, there is no one else, in all these years that I have run across that I trust," said Tramun.
She currently lives independently with all four children.
"Kidspace definitely is a place where your child will get the best care that there is and not only for the children but for us parents. They help us become more patient with learning and understanding our children," said Tramun.
Kidspace is one of 14 programs offered by the non-profit organzation dedicated to the recovery process of people suffering from chronic abuse. The House of Ruth receives donations from the government and private donors.
NOTE: The Gannett Foundation has provided a grant to the House of Ruth's Kidspace.
Produced/Written by: Elizabeth Jia
WUSA 9 & WUSA9.com