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There Will Never Be Enough ” Thank You’s”

Our baby, Nicolas was born with Arthrogryposis, this condition causes many joints to be stiff and crooked at birth. This was a surprise since the doctor didn’t catch this in the ultrasounds.  It was a pill hard to swallow as every parent expects their baby to be healthy. Nicolas was a tight little ball who could not stretch out. The Arthrogryposis on Nicolas affected him in his elbows, wrists, 10 fingers, knees, and complex clubfeet. The doctors weren’t sure if he was going to be able to walk. He was in need of a lot of medical care including surgeries, cast, and therapy.

We heard about Easter Seals Greater Houston and their program called Early Childhood Intervention that could help us give therapy to Nicolas from home. We called and after a few weeks, they were at home making the first evaluation. After this evaluation, they told us Nicolas qualified and they would start coming to our home for PT, OT, and ST.

Every single lady from this program has changed our lives in so many ways. They have shown this love for Nico since the day they met him. They were at my house every week since my son was 2 months old until 3 years old.

1The OT therapy started with DeeDee, she is a very sweet lady who won’t stop smiling. Nico was so happy to see her. She helped Nico with his hands, shoulders, elbows, and wrists doing stretching. She taught Nico to use his fingers to grab toys, small balls, push bottoms, and play with his cars. She also did stretching on a big ball. She became a friend of our family. She brought us hope.

The PT started with Melanie. She helped Nico with stretching his lower body. She helped us when we were having problems with Nico’s braces. She helped Nico sit and start bearing weight, she even put Nico in his first gait trainer.

After that, we had to move to Houston. The ECI program rescheduled and reassigned within Easter Seals and did everything for us and after a couple of weeks, they started coming to our new apartment.

The PT continued with Cristy. My family will never forget this lady. When Nico was born the doctors weren’t sure if he was going to walk. She helped Nico in so many ways. She made him stronger. She was always very energetic and happy. She helped Nico walk his first steps on his walker. And then the unimaginable happened. She said Nico was ready to walk by himself. So Nico took his first steps with her at 20 months old. I have that memory in my mind like it was yesterday. Everybody was so happy and in tears. It was the best moment in our lives. We are so thankful for her. After that she taught Nico to go up and down small steps. She taught Nico to kick a ball. She taught Nico to go from a sitting position to standing. She will be always a special person in our lives.

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The OT continued with Sherry. She helped Nico with fine motor skills. Nico got better grabbing things. Sherry also taught Nico colors, numbers, and animal names. She was always bringing new toys to keep Nico learning new things every therapy session.

For ST, both speech pathologists were great teaching Nico how to blow bubbles and saying new words like pop, mom and daddy.  They read books to Nico and played with him to teach him even more new words.

We moved again into a new house and with the move, we again got new therapists within Easter Seals.

Lisa started with Nico for OT. She always said Nico was super smart. She encouraged Nico’s Spanish. She was very funny and always made us laugh. She taught Nico to draw lines, circles, play with play-doh and so much more. She was always a spark of joy for us.

3Britney started with Speech. She taught Nico so many new words. Nico’s first sentence was thanks to Britney. She was always finding funny ways to made Nico speak. She helped me a lot too. She was the one who made the transition of Nico to the School District.

Nico also started speech group therapy. He loved this therapy. He was so happy to go and see the other kids. This therapy was really fun. Nico learned how to interact with other kids, and how to follow instructions. He learned a lot of new words and how to answer questions. He learned to interact with his teachers.

I can’t say thank you enough to Easter Seals and this ECI program and all people working in it. They changed our lives in so many ways. They went beyond just being therapists. They made us feel like family. They were there in one of the sad moments of our lives and they brought us hope.  Nicolas is doing so well thanks to all these ladies. We love you and will never forget you. Thank you very much!

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By: Nicolas’s Mom

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GROWing Together!

facebook cover photo 1Our Infant Program of Easter Seals Greater Houston has experienced some tremendous growth in the past few years.  It first started in 2012 when the area in Liberty County was acquired from another local Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) program which added 12 new zip codes to our existing 24. Next, came the Southern portion of Montgomery County which included the Woodlands and 12 more zip codes. Then, the Northern portion of Montgomery County, which included Conroe and 12 more zips. Our newest addition kicking off 2015 was North Harris county territory, which added the final 11 zip codes bringing the grand total to 70 zip codes that span over 4 counties!

All of these new areas have meant a growing in number of referred children, from approximately 100 referrals per month to over 300. Our number of enrolled families has now reached over 1,000. To serve the families, we’ve added more staff to our family and growing from 50 to now over 100 which includes Early Intervention Specialists, Speech Therapists, Occupational Therapist and Physical Therapists

To ensure our community partners know about the changes, Sharon Mott, outreach coordinator for the new regions has been visiting area pediatrician offices.  She has been overwhelmed by the positive name that Easter Seals has in the community. liberty county

“What a great opportunity I have to go into the community and share information about the ECI Infant Program of Easter Seals Greater Houston!  Since the middle of April, I visited 23 pediatrician offices/clinics in the northern areas we now serve.  The staff I meet express gratitude for someone from the Infant Program/ECI to come to their offices in person.  We had conversations about how babies/toddlers qualify for ECI, services we provide, and how to make referrals.  At each visit, I leave a Physician Notebook filled with information about ECI, sample brochures, referral forms, and physical exam forms.  Most of the offices did not have any ECI brochures, so I gave them the “How’s Your Baby” brochures, in English and Spanish, along with the Easter Seals “Make the First Five Count” postcards.  Last week I left phone messages with various pediatrician offices in the Humble/Kingwood/Atascocita areas.  Recently I received a voice mail from the Referral Coordinator at Texas Children’s Pediatrics Atascocita office.  She stated it would be “wonderful” for me to bring her information the staff can give to parents about ECI.  She added they have had “excellent response with ECI through Easter Seals Greater Houston since you all have taken over.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping these patients.”

infant program staffEaster Seals Greater Houston has already had a positive impact on the reputation of the Infant / ECI program now serving that area.  In April the program was able to celebrate and refresh, by hosting the annual Down Days trainings. Trainings were offered by national speakers on typical childhood development, infant and child massage for children with special needs, and how play based early intervention works.  Our amazing staff are always educating themselves on the best therapies to ensure your family and kiddos are going to #makethefirstfivecount” and achieve their best!  After their extensive trainings, our Infant Program staff put the “play based” into action with a group outing to The Main Event – thanks for everything you do staff!”, said Dena Day, Infant Program Director.

Did you know that every year, more than one million young children with unidentified disabilities enter school with issues that put them far behind their peers and have a lasting, negative effect on their ability to meet their full potential. When children get the right treatment and therapy they need before the age of five, they are ready to learn alongside their peers, build lifelong skills, and achieve their dreams. Want to check your baby’s development?

Visit www. MaketheFirstFiveCounty.org to take a free Ages and States Questionnaire to see if your child is reaching his or her developmental milestones.

Kim Sporrer, Outreach & Education Coordinator, ESGH

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