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: graduation
Oh, the mixed feelings. The proud “mama bear” feeling. The ecstatic “look at them go!” feeling. The sad “they’re leaving” feeling. All of ‘em. I’ve got all of ‘em.
For the past six years, I’ve been working with at risk youth with disabilities in the Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program at Easter Seals Greater Houston. The goal is to prepare them for life after high school while also making sure they feel the support and heed the guidance that aims to keep them out of the juvenile justice system and aiming instead at college and work. As you might imagine – working with teenagers is equal parts fun and *enter face-palm emoji here*. While we work on resume building, interviewing skills, and career exploration, they are also testing, and subsequently, pushing boundaries every chance they get. I’ve learned to navigate the energetic mischievousness and get as much done as possible, while still begging a handful of class clowns to “sit down”, “fill this out please”, and “please stop throwing erasers at his head”. I can’t complain too much, though. Most of the time I’m laughing as I say it because they truly are some of the funniest kids I have ever met.
For the last three years, I have had the same group of students at KIPP Northeast College Prep. Since day one, when they were all feeling me out and seeing if they actually liked me at all, they still made me laugh. There’s the one who can do any sound effect in the book and always has videos of his plays in the past weekend’s football game to show me, the one who prefers to walk around barefoot, the one whose smile is actually legitimately contagious. They all walk up and hug me when I walk into their classroom each week – and not superficial hugs, either. I mean big, crack-your-back bear hugs. The fact is, though, it’s time for some of them to move on; my five seniors. I’ve prepped them for this since their sophomore year, but it crept up on me a lot faster than I would have liked.
Today in class, all five of them told me that they had been accepted to several colleges. This big, scary transition from high school was starting out pretty wonderfully and they were excited to share the news. Again, those mixed feelings. I am so proud of them and I’m so sad to watch them go. When I started at Easter Seals, I knew this program would probably be pretty life changing but I honest to God didn’t expect it to have such an effect on me, too.
I’m so lucky to be a part of something so amazing and to get to spend my time with such talented, kind, intelligent young people. Watching them figure out their goals, work toward them, and achieve them is really incredible. My heart is full.
I still have a few months to prepare myself in an attempt to hold in tears as they walk across the stage at graduation. But that’s nothing a big bear hug can’t fix. Congratulations to the soon to be high school graduates of the class of 2020! Watching you on your journey to college has been a blessing. Don’t forget to visit. I’ll have candy.
Love, “Miss Jacquie”.
Last Spring, Sam transitioned from using a limited auditory scanning device to a device with unlimited app-based software using auditory scanning to communicate!
Many of the parents who have come to Easter Seals Greater Houstons’ The Caroline School have done so out of a desire to find a more individualized education for their child – a school that would focus on the whole child, their physical, social, and cognitive development.
That’s exactly what Samantha’s family found. Sam began at The Caroline School a year ago and since has embarked on many educational changes. She worked on her physical skills by using her stander in the classroom and engaging in yoga stretches with support. She focused on her social skills by using both non-verbal gestures (smiles and singing), as well as her new communication device to share love and joy with her friends and teachers. Working on the physical and social aspects of learning, perfectly positioned Sam to grow her cognitive skill set as well! She used her new communication device to engage in lessons and home-to-school connection questions and activities. For example, she completed an “All About Me” project to share with the class.
Sam’s collective team of teachers, parents, ESGH therapists and nurses are so proud of her hard work! We can’t wait to begin her Senior year here at The Caroline School! It will surely be the best year yet.
“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.