Many parents have big dreams for their children, even before they’re born, but one local couple was forced to rethink their plans, right after the delivery.
Although they knew it could be a possibility, Joe and Tonya Scott were surprised when their daughter was diagnosed with Down Syndrome. They understood that she faced disabilities and limitations, but they didn’t know what to expect.
“After we got through the initial, ‘okay this happened, what do we do, and how do we best help her,’ my husband really jumped into, ‘I need to be active. I need to do something to help her now,’ ” Tonya remembers.
They had no idea how long it might take for Hannah to talk, to walk, and to reach milestones achieved by her older sister Elliana. Their search for answers led them to the Early Intervention Program at Home Nursing Agency.
Joe says, “the sooner you get them started the more impact you can feel at each stage of development.”
Hannah was just a month old when Child Development Specialist Karen Anderko first came to teach the Scotts infant massage
Karen says, “It just helps them to relax, it helps with bonding, it helps them gain weight faster, they eat better.”
Since then, the whole family, even Eliana, has learned to be effective and enthusiastic coaches for Hannah’s occupational, physical, and speech therapies.
Hannah who just turned two last week, is a fast crawler, and she’s learning to walk. She communicates mainly with sign language, but is starting to speak
Tonya explains, “If we’re constantly saying milk or mom, and she’s learning that those are words and so she’s imitating not only the words, but the signs as well.”
One of those signs is potty. Hannah’s not dry all of the time, but…
“How many kids do you know at the age of 2 are peeing and pooping in the potty and she is,” Karen says, proudly
Her parents are thrilled by the progress Hannah’s been making and expect her to continue to surpass their expectations.
“I think her biggest challenge is she wants to do more and she is working very hard to get there,” Joe says.
And Tonya adds, “Not to say that we don’t have our challenges, but the joys of her, and her in our lives far outweigh any challenges that we face and that we will continue to face.”
Therapists from the Early Intervention Program come to the Scott’s house 4 times a week to work with Hannah, but her family also plays a huge role in her progress.