Brianna was 17 months old when she had her first Easter Seals Early Childhood Intervention evaluation. Mom had made the referral as she had concerns with stiffness, lack of use of the left hand, and Brianna not walking. During the evaluation, Brianna was inquisitive, yet determined. She wanted to do things her way and she was not about to let the ECI team tell her what to and she made sure the ECI team knew this. During the initial evaluation, the Early Childhood Intervention team noticed that Brianna was using her right side more than her left side and asked mom about Brianna’s medical history. According to mom, pregnancy and labor were uncomplicated and her pediatrician had never expressed any concerns. Brianna qualified based on delays in several areas of development, but primarily motor functions. Due to the ECI team’s concern with Brianna using her right side more than the left, she was referred to a neurologist and it was then that Brianna was diagnosed with hemiparesis. At first, mom did not fully understand the diagnosis, but the ECI team made sure to provide her with information that she was able to understand. As the therapists and EIS worked with Brianna, they quickly realized that Brianna was bright and very determined. The ECI providers were constantly building on Brianna’s strengths in order to get her to meet new goals and mom was happy with the progress Brianna was making. Mom always made sure she never missed a session, even when she was pregnant with her second child, and if she was not able to present for Brianna’s sessions, she made sure step dad was present. Fast forward to Brianna graduating from ECI at age 3. Brianna is walking, talking, following directions, and pointing to pictures, body parts, colors, and shapes. During Brianna’s last session, mom expressed her gratitude for all her ECI service providers Priscilla Lewis, Alejandra Torres, Lindsay Wild, Christy Lewis, Judy Rodriguez, and Lillie Medellin. Mom expressed how grateful she was to ECI as she had learned a lot during the time she was present for the therapy sessions. She further stated that when Brianna was initially diagnosed with hemiparesis, she faulted herself and felt guilty for Brianna having been diagnosed, but with the help of all her ECI team, she quickly learned it was not her fault and she learned the many ways she could help Brianna. Mom also stated she felt supported throughout Brianna’s participation in ECI and had it not been for ECI, they might have never gotten a diagnosis for Brianna which would have meant that Brianna would not have made the progress she made while in ECI. Brianna is now happily participating in a PPCD program with Alief ISD and we are sure she is just as determined as she was during her ECI participation.
Tag Archives: ECI
“He is talking more and more every single day! He’s gotten a lot of boo boos and I always kiss him where he got hurt and say “all better Jakey”. He now kisses me and says, “all better mommy”. He’s definitely growing up! Andrea had a cap and gown for his ESGH ECI graduation. I just wanted to thank you again for all your help!! Jacob and I truly appreciate it tremendously!!”
Easter Seals ECI Infant Development program is parent-driven and focuses on enhancing the development of children ages birth to 36 months with developmental delays or disabilities. It is our goal to give families the tools they need to make a significant impact on the development of their children.
We provide families with certified or licensed professionals who come into the child’s natural environment, as a part of the routine where the child learns, plays and lives, and use their skills to help in the progression of reaching the child’s developmental milestones. At the same time the therapists are modeling and teaching the parent/caregiver the skills needed to work by themselves with the child. We believe that parents/caregivers are the most important influences in a child’s life and should be an active player in their child’s development.
Every child who qualifies for the program will be assigned a service coordinator who will coordinate all the individualized services for the child in addition to being the main point of contact for the family. Other services provided may include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, developmental services, nutrition services, respite services, and assistive technology assistance. If there is a concern about vision or hearing, we will make referrals to the appropriate location to see that your child’s needs are being met.
Rose was adopted from China in November of 2018, at the age of 33 months. She has Down syndrome, and spent the first 33 months of her life laying in a crib, with very little human interaction. As a consequence, she is severely delayed in her overall development, and has very, very low muscle tone. Because of her age, Rose was only able to receive services through Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) for two months. Lacy Alvarado, our service coordinator from Easter Seals Greater Houston’s ECI Program, made sure that Rose had the best therapeutic intervention she could possibly get during those two month through the Brazos Valley team (PT, OT, Case Management, Nutritional services, Speech and more). In addition to working with Rose every week on a wide range of developmental goals, the ESGH BV Team provided us with invaluable advice, and directed us to all the best service providers to meet Rose’s needs. With their help, Rose has made amazing progress, meeting many of her goals each and every week. Before starting with ECI, Rose had very limited usage of her left side, she couldn’t sit without bracing herself on her legs, and was completely unable to feed herself. In just two short months, Rose is now using her left hand and arm to complete all kinds of tasks, she can sit up straight without using her arms to brace herself, she is able to bring food to her mouth for self-feeding, she is beginning to use her arms and legs to “army crawl”, and she is learning how to follow simple directions.
With the help of Jana Aguilar, her physical therapist through Easter Seals Houston’s ECI Program, Rose has discovered that she has legs, and is beginning to bear weight on them, moving one step closer to eventually crawling and walking. We are so grateful for the Brazos Valley Team’s help through the Easter Seals’ ECI Program, as they have set Rose up for great success as she continues to grow and develop. And having these services provided in our home has been extremely important for Rose, allowing her to work with Lacy and Jana in a familiar place. Coming from years of neglect in a foreign institution has made Rose very fearful of unfamiliar surroundings, and very easily overstimulated by new people and places. So having Lacy and Jana come to our home was vital to her success. We will be forever grateful to Easter Seals Greater Houston / ECI for beginning Rose’s journey of healing and development in such an amazing way, and we will the team so very much.
1 in 762 people are born with Down syndrome and there are approximately 6,000 people with Down syndrome in greater Houston. Children and adults alike with Down syndrome are benefiting from our ECI, Caroline School, playgroups, BridgingApps, Adult Program and more. Here is just an example of one of our many success stories!
Adri’s journey continued on a smooth path as she made steady progress, gaining independence in all areas of development. She was eating a larger variety of foods (also receiving additional nutrition through her G-button), began walking independently, and using more words and phrases to communicate. At 3 years old, Adri graduated from the Easter Seals ECI (Early Childhood Intervention) program, and transitioned easily into the PPCD (Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities) class with her local school district.
As most journeys hit challenges along the way, Adri’s journey took a terrifying turn. In January 2018, Adri became very ill. Her parents made two trips to the hospital ER one weekend, where she was diagnosed with “just a stomach virus”. Her health did not improve. When at her pediatrician’s office on Monday, Adri’s left arm began jerking. Suspecting she was having seizures, Adri was transported by ambulance, for her third trip to the ER. After given numerous tests, and losing the ability to lift her left arm, Adri was taken, by ambulance, to UTMB. The EEG and MRI indicated no seizures, but her fever continued, and her condition worsened. Since no neurologist was on-site, Texas Children’s Hospital sent their ambulance to pick her up. Adri was intubated before she left in that ambulance. Once she arrived at Texas Children’s, Adri was taken straight to the ICU.
After multiple tests, on January 25th, the test results showed Adri had Adenol virus which “mimics” the flu. Children with Down Syndrome may have weakened immune systems, and Adri became susceptible to the virus. The Adenol virus triggered Moya Moya, a common, though not frequent, underlying condition sometimes present with Down Syndrome. Moya Moya caused progressing restricted blood flow to the brain, depriving certain areas of the brain of oxygen and glucose. The MRA and MRB tests revealed Adri suffered a massive stroke to the right side of her brain. Adri lost the use of her left side of her body – she was unable to use her left leg, left arm, and left hand. Her speech was also affected. Adri began rehab therapy, to regain strength, and use of the left side of her body. During her month-long stay at Texas Children’s Hospital, Adri also had brain surgery on February 19th. The neurosurgeon tried to create new blood vessels on the right side of her brain. Her parents endured this traumatic time through their faith, and support from family and friends. As her mom stated, “We had a lot of people praying for her.” Adri was discharged on March 8th. In order to regain her strength, and focus on recovery from her stroke, Adri stayed home from school and began receiving out-patient therapy. She had OT (Occupational Therapy) and Speech Therapy two times per week, and PT (Physical Therapy) one time per week.
Last August, with the start of a new school year, Adri began the next phase of her journey. Today, she walks independently again (with a slight drag of her left foot), feeds herself a variety of food (still receiving additional nutrition from her G-button with 4 feedings a day), uses 3-4 word sentences to communicate what she wants, uses her left hand as a “helper hand”, and knows her letters, most shapes and colors, and counts to 20. Her dad commented Adri has had a strong will, even from birth, and is “feisty”, which helped her recover. She has surprised her therapists with how well she is doing. Adri attends PPCD Monday through Friday from 8:25-11:55 am, and receives out-patient therapy two times per week. Mom reported Adri loves riding the bus home from school, and enjoys “tooting the horn” to let mom know she’s home. Adri loves to sing, dance, and watch YouTube videos. Her mom added she’s “very funny”. Adri has fun with hats, dressing up, and looking in the mirror. She comes up with new words and sentences every day. Adri greets people, says what she wants, and still gives amazing hugs! On her last brain angiogram in the Fall of 2018, the neurosurgeon stated the brain image now shows “no stroke”, and the medical team can’t explain it.
To really come home with a child with Down syndrome….well, one of the most unexpected things in our lives. We all cried. To receive help from Easter Seals Infant Program was great! Really was a tremendous help. At first, we thought we were all alone with this. The ECI staff became like family. They didn’t just do their sessions. They listened to what we needed. Therapists recommended what Adri needed, then helped us resource it. We really miss them. They were a big time help with her progress and almost entirely the reason Adri was school-ready for PPCD.
Adri’s dad said he wanted to offer this advice to parents of children with Down syndrome: “Pack your patience. Really take time to get to know your child.” That is sound advice for parents of all children. Adri’s parents’ high expectations for Adri have enabled her to progress in her development, recover from a massive stroke, and look forward to the next steps of her continuing journey.
Sharon Mott, EIS/Transition and Outreach Coordinator, Easter Seals Greater Houston
“My experience with Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) through Easter Seals Greater Houston has been extraordinary. The staff has been exceptional. I’ve always felt that Charles’ success has been important to them from my first meeting with Sarah his coordinator with ESGH. She would inform me of anything she felt could benefit Charles beyond therapy services. Every therapist that Charles has had seemed to take a special interest in him. Although I knew they had other clients and all the children were important, they just had a way of making you feel special. They have been committed to his growth potential and meeting his established goals. They take the time to listen to my concerns and would find ways to help me rectify them, even when it was regarding how the therapy was being done. I’ve been able to trust this group with the care of my son. When he would whine through therapy, I knew that they weren’t going to do anything that would hurt him. I’ve never had a session in which I’ve felt Charles was just another kid they had to see doing a repetitive job as robots. That’s care you can’t pay enough for. Having a special needs child has been challenging and rewarding. I truly feel that with Easter Seals Greater Houston’s ECI program, I’ve had a team to help me give my son the best start and get him on a road to success.”
Shalemeiko Freeman, Mother of Charles
“When Bellemere was first born, as excited parents welcoming our second child, we never would have imagined the journey we would be faced with upon her arrival. After a month in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, countless specialists and doctors visits, we finally learned we were blessed with a child who has CHARGE syndrome. With time, we found out Bellemere was deaf, her physical strength would be delayed and she is a silent aspirator which means she could take no food or liquid by mouth due to choking risks. Bellemere had a MickeyTube placed so she could get her nutrition through a tube in her stomach.
Our family was introduced to Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) program after one of many hospital stays. Aliza was our case manager and she guided us along the way. With the help of Anita (physical therapist), Britni (Early Intervention Specialist), Elena (Occupational Therapist), and Brenda (Speech Therapist), we were taken through the next steps in Belle’s journey until she turned 3 years old. These therapists came to our house weekly to work with us which was crucial in limiting her exposure to germs. With their help, guidance and patience, Bellemere has mastered crawling, cruising on her feet while holding on to things, and walking with the assistance of a walker. She is also now able to feed herself pureed foods (something we never thought we would see her do), communicate using sign language, use her fingers to grasp small objects and many other skills that are necessary for her daily life. Also after discovering that Belle was deaf, our Easter Seals ECI case manager connected us with AI services, which supplied us with a deaf education teacher who also came to our home to work with us.
Not only was this amazing group of ladies able to help us with Bellemere’s development, they also helped prepare us for transitioning to the school district by her 3rd birthday. We will forever be grateful to ECI and these therapists who came into our home to help our sweet Bellemere succeed. I highly encourage any parent to contact ECI if they feel their child needs any assistance with their development. Thank you ECI of Easter Seals!!”
Krishna Hernandez, mother of Bellemere
The following post was written by the parent of an Early Childhood Intervention Infant Program client.
After receiving the news from Matthew’s pediatrician to seek services with Early Childhood Intervention I was heartbroken. This was a second opinion and I felt like I failed. The first time we did not qualify, but luckily the second time he did. We began receiving services and were paired up with Ms. Perla, one of Easter Seals Greater Houston’s wonderful Early Intervention Specialists. Matthew began improving slowly. Speech was getting better and better. Matthew was learning new signs and ways to express his needs. As time went on I also began to learn more. I was able to give more insight to Ms. Perla and we considered him on target and exceeding his vocabulary goals. However, during this time we began to notice he was having sensory problems. With the help of Easter Seals Greater Houston’s ECI team we were able to make new goals for Matthew at our re-evaluation and began working towards them.
These new and emerging issues at hand were stressful. I have had days where I was a complete mess, unsure if I could follow through and handle this new test. Ms. Perla would send me comforting messages and encourage me as a parent with ZERO JUDGEMENT! So many “give up” or “give in” but she still supported me. I work hard every day. I take notes so I can focus on what’s the best for my son. Thanks to ECI I have been able to be a better parent and help my son learn and develop. I have learned more ways to work through certain situations, different ideas to try, what triggers something, how to react, what am I doing that may be making it worse, what to look for before it happens with someone else, and so much more!!!
If it wasn’t for Easter Seals Greater Houston ECI Infant Program we would be way further behind than we are now. In the beginning I was upset, scared, unsure, and in denial. Now, I am so happy to have Easter Seals helping my son and myself. Many people deserve to have access to and assistance from this amazing program. I know as we continue down the road my son will have a much more successful life due to them. Many thanks to the Easter Seals Greater Houston ECI Infant Program team, especially Ms. Perla who my son and I love so very much!!!
I am forever grateful!
Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Early Childhood Intervention Infant Program has expanded and is now available in 12 counties. If you have concerns or questions about your child’s development, please call 713.838.9050, ext. 385 and request a free developmental assessment.