Joshua, lovingly known as “Bear”, has made rapid progress since he began receiving services through Early Childhood Intervention from Easter Seals Greater Houston. Delighted by his newly acquired skills, his mom, Stephani, wanted to share his success story:
Born full term and healthy, with no apparent issues, Bear’s mom began to notice he was taking longer to reach his developmental milestones. During checkups with the pediatricians, she voiced her concerns. After moving to this area, Stephani followed up with new doctors. At his two-year old well check-up, his mom reported Bear was not saying any words. When told about the possible language delay, his doctor recommended ECI (Early Childhood Intervention) from Easter Seals Greater Houston.
The evaluation with ECI occurred in mid-March. Bear qualified for ECI due to global delays. One of the items on the evaluation was the string drop test. Bear was unable to see the string as it fell, prompting the assessment team to discuss a possible problem with his vision, and encouraged Stephani to have his vision tested.
His mom was quick to follow-though with the team’s suggestion and immediately scheduled an eye exam for the next week. At the eye appointment, Bear was diagnosed as legally blind, with significant vision loss in both eyes. He was fitted for glasses. At first, Bear grabbed the glasses off his face. But then, with the second try, he looked through the lenses, his face lit up, and he gave that “half-smile smirk”, truly seeing people for the first time! Now, with his glasses, Bear is able to see the world around him, his reach and grasp have improved tremendously, and he loves watching and imitating his big brother.
From the initial evaluation, a PT (Physical Therapy, part of Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Children’s Therapy Program) consult was also written. When the PT completed her evaluation, she recommended SMOs (Supra Malleolar Orthosis, which are prescribed to help stabilize ankles/feet to improve balance and walking). Again, his mom followed-through, promptly getting the prescription and an appointment with a orthotics clinic. Two weeks after being fitted, Bear received his SMOs. Even though he has only been wearing the orthotics a few days, dramatic improvement has already been shown in his balance.
Not only has Bear improved in his vision and walking skills, his language skills have also increased. He’s now imitating and using some signs and single words. Instead of crying as he had done before, he now uses the sign “more” to communicate what he wants.
Much of Bear’s progress was due to his mom’s response, and getting him the help he needed. When asked about her experience with ECI of Easter Seals Greater Houston, Stephani replied: “I didn’t know what to do until someone told me what to do. I saw how much the suggestions helped him, and I was excited to do more. I didn’t know where to start and they showed me.” She has certainly embraced the team approach as the family, ECI staff, and medical professionals all work together to encourage Bear’s next new skill.