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Parent Stories

Early intervention works!
Parents with children who experienced developmental delays share their success stories below. These parents reacted quickly to the challenges presented to both them and their child. Their efforts to act early and get the help they needed have been rewarded!

After you check out these parent stories, meet Ryder and his mom . This video shows how early intervention and therapy helped Ryder reach his fullest potential.

Early intervention made the difference! - Kellie’s Story

Kellie realized when her son Chaz was 18 months old that he could not hear. He had surgery to insert tubes into his ears so he could hear clearly. However, even after surgery to correct his hearing, he was unable to speak at all. Kellie enrolled him at The Florida Center for Early Childhood where he received rigorous speech therapy until he was three years old.

"I believe that without the immediate speech therapy Chaz received, he might still be far behind his peers."

"I can’t emphasize enough just how important early intervention is with any issue related to developmental delays."

"I know my son has progressed to the necessary level of acceptance due to my constant involvement. I tackled his speech delay like I was the one who needed to learn how to speak.  I asked the speech therapist to teach me how to help him and she taught me all sorts of games and tricks to help him along the way.  I was very involved in the whole process.  I believe early intervention is the key to any child's success, in how they learn to adapt and achieve in life, how they overcome obstacles.  My son is a very outgoing little boy.  It seems that kids like to be around him, he knows how to make them feel good about themselves.  He has compassion. Ironically, my son will now get on stage with a microphone to sing to a room full of people, with no problem at all!  Maybe he'll be a public speaker one day!"

Label my child? - Tammi’s Story

Tammi recognized early on that her son wasn’t developing at the expected pace-at two he wasn’t talking and his motor skills were delayed. She spoke to her pediatrician and was referred to therapy for gross motor, fine motor and speech. She and her husband were both nervous, and hesitant about having their child "labeled," but at the end, they decided their son really needed the help. They didn’t want him to struggle in elementary school. 

The occupational and speech therapists came to their home to work with their son and also taught Tammi and her husband things they could do to help him.

At age three he was enrolled in pre-school so he could learn from other children, and at Children First he was receiving speech therapy in a small group setting. He still receives speech therapy at school and at home, but the occupational therapy ended at three when his motor skills were considered up to par.

Now at age four his development is totally on target. He wouldn’t be doing as well as he is without the early intervention-it made a huge difference!

Tammi and her husband can’t say enough about getting the help they needed-the more help you can get for your children, the better it is for them. "There is nothing to be ashamed of-you want the best for your child. If there is help, you get it, and the earlier you get it, the better."

My perfect baby has autism? - Christi’s Story

The moment Christi’s baby was placed in her arms she thought he was the most perfect baby in the world. Her son, Zander grew fast in spite of having difficulty nursing properly. At 8 months Zander was a happy baby but his gross motor skills seemed to be delayed. He was not sitting up and eventually his doctor suggested physical therapy.

After being evaluated by Early Steps, Zander was accepted for therapy where Christi learned that he had low muscle tone. This accounted for his early problems with nursing. After 7 months of therapy, Zander was re-evaluated because at 19 months he was still not walking. The therapist suggested that he might have a sensory integration disorder.

"After a few weeks of sensory therapy, Zander took his first steps and I cried with joy, pride and relief. That moment is forever etched in my memory."

Speech therapy was soon added to Zanders repertoire to help with problems associated with his low muscle tone. He spent about three hours a day in therapy. Zander’s communication improved to the point his therapist suggested that Christi enroll him in preschool to encourage his social skills and further aid in his development. Preschool proved to be challenging for Zander and after three months Christi pulled him out.

"His communication skills were declining and he began to babble. He couldn’t make his needs and wishes known appropriately so he began to hit.  The teacher had recorded 27 incidents in one three hour period.  She really worked with us and I just felt lost about what to do."

Then Zander’s occupational therapist asked Christi if she had heard of Asperberger’s syndrome.  Christi began to observe Zander more and noticed he exhibited many of the red flags associated with the Asperberger’s. The therapist recommended that Christi take Zander to be evaluated by a developmental pediatrician.

"My husband and I sat in the doctor’s office and we heard the news we really didn’t want to hear but were expecting-Autism Spectrum Disorder along with expressive language disorder and ADHD." The developmental pediatrician suggested much more work was needed and Christi was willing to do whatever needed to be done to help Zander reach his full potential.

Zander continued his therapy and today he is in first grade!  "He had a successful kindergarten year and the teacher always reported that he was doing well socially and academically." 

First grade is shaping up to be the same!  "Everyday we see him overcome more challenges. We recently marveled as he told us his first joke."

Christi has learned some important things on this journey such as "it’s only an evaluation! It will tell you if your child needs help and it doesn’t make you a bad parent or your child imperfect.  It means your child just might need a little push to be the best they can be and we all need that sometimes!" 

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