Holding on tightly to their faith, Adrianna’s parents describe their life with her as a journey. Adrianna, known as Adri, was born with Down Syndrome. Receiving the diagnosis of Down Syndrome for their youngest daughter was, at first, a shock and hard to process. They were given encouragement from the doctors at the hospital after she was born, as well as pamphlets and other helpful information to read. The hospital referred Adri to Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Early Childhood Intervention, discharged her from the hospital, and their journey began.
Not far into their journey, Adri’s “bad gag reflex” created the parents’ first real scare. She was just 3 months old. After feeding her, mom put Adri in her swing, the Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) evaluation team arrived, and Adri began gagging. As mom reported, “I thought she was going to die!” Due to the gag reflex, mom and dad learned Adri needed to be perfectly still at least 30-45 minutes after she ate, which affected what they were able to do as a family. They couldn’t drive anywhere with her after feedings. This lasted a few more months, then the formula was changed, she became bigger, and she outgrew that reflex. Their second scare came not long after the first scare. At 4:00 one morning, Adri’s G-button popped out and Adri was taken to the ER. She came home from the hospital with a foley, and then it migrated into her intestines. She went back to the ER, taken to surgery, and the foley was replaced with a G-tube…then it popped out, and she went back again to surgery. As dad stated, “We’re pros now and can replace that button as long as we catch it early.”
Though their journey has had many ups and downs, Adri has continued to blossom, and progress in all areas of development. Described as very friendly, Adri has a smile for everyone she meets, waves, and says “hi”. When she wants something, Adri communicates using gestures, signs and some single words. Her love for the outdoors prompts her to go to the door, knock, and point. Adri thrives on social attention. She gives amazing hugs and takes hold of people’s hands as she sings her favorite songs with them. Mom and dad report she sings along at church, too, and enjoys the other children there. Adri receives some food through her G-button, but now eats a variety of foods. She’s exploring more textures of foods, and feeds herself her favorite Cheetos puff snack. To move around her home and explore outside, Adri walks behind a push toy. During her time with ECI of Easter Seals, Adri has been receiving Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Speech Therapy, SST, and case management. The team works closely with her parents as they’re now working on more independence in walking, feeding, and using more words.
When asked about their experience with ECI of Easter Seals Greater Houston, both parents commented:
“We didn’t have a clue; how will we manage this? With prayer, encouragement from friends, and help from ECI, she’s made so much progress! ECI has been a great help and we’ve gained a lot of experience from them. This has been a long road, but it’s helped her get where she is now. She’s now independent, gotten stronger. We’re looking forward to the next steps.”
Easter Seals Greater Houston’s ECI Program helps children ages birth to 36 months with disabilities and developmental delays achieve their goals in cognitive, social/emotional, communicative, adaptive and physical development. Learn more here.
Sharon Mott, EIS/Transition and Outreach Coordinator, Easter Seals Greater Houston