Imagine yourself a young adult about to have your very first child. You have waited a lifetime for this very moment! You pack your bag for the hospital, relish the smells of baby lotion. You delight in the feel of the warm, soft blankets as you make the crib. You say to yourself, “we are finally ready.” Hearing the cries of your child for the very first time, instincts kick in and you know there is nothing more important in this world than the tiny baby in your arms. For Sarah, becoming a mother was a dream come true. Nothing could quite prepare her for what the doctor said next.
This is the story of Sarah’s brave little princess, Addison. At birth, she was diagnosed with Myotonic Dystrophy. Doctors said she might not have lived through the night, let alone the week, but she did. At 9 days old, Addison was taken to Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago where she began physical and occupational therapy. She fought and struggled mightily. Her family would celebrate each small success until she was finally released home to the very crib her family so carefully prepared almost 11 months ago. A team of therapists from Jacob’s Ladder Pediatric Rehabilitation would be assigned to her case by Indiana’s early intervention service, First Steps, in April of 2015.
Every week, every visit, Addison’s care team would come to her home and make hard work fun. Her physical therapist, Michael, was especially talented at getting her to touch new things and move in new ways. This was no small feat given her sensory needs! Debbie, her speech therapist, would help Addison learn to eat and eventually teach her sign language. Sarah reports that their occupational therapist, Megan, was able to incorporate fine motor, gross motor and speech skills all into one visit.
“I don’t know how she does it! I’m so grateful to be able to watch them and learn so that we can continue her at-home program and improve progress,” exclaimed Sarah.
Today, Addison has just celebrated her 3rd birthday! She is no longer on a vent or feeding tube; as a matter of fact, she eats EVERYTHING! A new favorite is Feta cheese. She now knows 47 signs to communicate her needs! She sits and rolls; she can lift her arms and legs, but perhaps most exciting, is her newest skill of standing on her own two feet!
Mom, Sarah said, “I don’t think I, as a 33-year-old woman, could do what she has done in just 3 short years of life. Doctors at Lurie Children’s couldn’t believe the progress she’d made when I updated them by phone. It wasn’t until she was there, in person, for a checkup that they finally said to me, ‘You weren’t exaggerating!’ I love our therapists!”
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) now estimates that 1 in 6 children born will be diagnosed with some form of developmental delay and the Autism prevalence rates have spiked by 289%. We, at Jacob’s Ladder, have watched the number of children referred for therapy quadruple in as many years. A gift from you today will allow Jacob’s Ladder to serve more children in need. For only $100, you can be a lifeline helping a child gain access to one month of life-changing therapy treatments.
For more information about Jacob’s Ladder and the services they provide for families and children with special needs, go to www.jacobskids.org.