Madalynn is an absolutely delightful little girl who gives a big smile to everyone she meets. Her mom, Amanda, is very pleased with Madalynn’s progress and wanted to share her story.
When she was just 10 weeks pregnant, Amanda found out her baby was going to be born with Down syndrome. Amanda researched on her own and tried to educate herself on the diagnosis. Amanda thought she was prepared, but when the diagnosis of Down syndrome was confirmed after Madalynn’s birth, she emotionally had to go through the acceptance process. She shared that the hospital staff at Texas Children’s Hospital was very helpful, educating her more about the diagnosis, and referring her to Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) of Easter Seals Greater Houston.
The assessment team came out quickly, and Madalynn began receiving ECI services at about 2 weeks old. The newborn needed OT (Occupational Therapy) due to feeding concerns. Though Amanda was worried about the feeding issues, Amanda’s biggest concern for her sweet daughter was “she was not really connected”. Madalynn was quiet and not noticing people around her. After receiving help from Easter Seals’ ECI, and following through with the therapist’s suggestions, Amanda was excited to see Madalynn begin to progress. At 2 ½ – 3 months old, Madalynn started connecting with everyone around her. Today, seeing Madalynn at about 10 months old, her mom is amazed at what she can do. Amanda admits that she initially had low expectations due to the diagnosis. After seeing what Madalynn was capable of, her mom did not want to hold her back. “I include her in our daily life no matter what it is, from the beach to the park, she is there playing with us.” Madalynn now sits well independently, gets from her back into a sitting position, uses her hands to play with various toys, is beginning to clap her hands, rolls and belly crawls to get toys she wants, gestures “up”, and babbles “baba”. Feeding issues have been resolved (love those baby rolls!), and she is eating some table foods. This quiet little baby, previously so “unconnected”, now “soaks it all in”, focuses on people, and demands their attention.
When asked about Easter Seals’ ECI, Amanda responded: “I’ve learned so much from ECI. I’ve learned tons! With my other children, I didn’t pay attention to how they moved; they just did it. ECI helped me realize how important the best ways to move are for her. That’s why she’s come so far and doing what she is today.”
As she described Madalynn, Amanda stated: “She’s gives you the biggest smile ever, just talking to her. She just brings so much joy to others. Everywhere we go, people stop to talk to her. Just gives everyone joy.” Her mom also shared the exciting news: Madalynn’s picture will be featured in the 2018 Down Syndrome Calendar.