Like any mother, Christy’s face lights up when she talks about her daughter, Amelia. Christy and husband, Jeff, adopted Amelia when she was just six days old and say they can’t imagine what their lives were like before she arrived. “We got to see her be born. What an amazing experience,” said Christy. They knew before Amelia’s arrival that she may face some developmental delays in her future, but they were ready to do whatever they needed to help their daughter thrive.
Amelia has been supported through First Steps and Boone County Family Resources since January 2012 receiving services such as speech, occupational and physical therapies. “The therapists have been so wonderful and have taught us so much. I’ve seen so much progress with Amelia,” says Christy. She expressed concern about transitioning out of the First Steps program as change is sometimes difficult for Amelia.
It turns out the transition was easier than Christy and Jeff expected it would be. In early October, Amelia turned three and started in the Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) program in Hallsville schools. She attends an adapted classroom with other kids with special needs four days a week for three hours at a time. “School is going wonderful. She loves it!” says Christy. “I’ve seen so much change in her since then. We’re understanding a lot more words from her and she’s enjoying being around the other kids in the classroom. Her social skills have really blossomed.” Due to her birth date, Amelia will be able to attend three full years of the ECSE program and Christy is thrilled. “We are so pleased with Amelia’s progress. I see changes in her every single day.”
In addition to the various therapies, Amelia has benefited from assistive technology devices such as a SPIO vest and Hip Helpers to help her gain core strength to learn to walk, and the Signing Times video series to help her learn sign language. At the time of the interview, Amelia had recently mastered walking on her own and really has no intention of ever looking back. “She’s a mover,” laughs Christy. “She is all about being outside and moving!”
To keep Amelia moving, BCFR also assisted with therapeutic recreation at Cedar Creek Therapeutic Riding Center. “Riding the horses is the only thing she’ll do for this long,” says Christy. “She really enjoys it.” They just completed their fall therapy sessions and next the family is considering enrolling Amelia in adapted swimming and adapted gymnastics. “It is so great to be able to have her try lots of different things,” says Christy. “We are very thankful for programs like these to help our Amelia.”
The First Steps therapy team working with the family gave them high praise for the amount of work they do with Amelia on a daily basis. “Their dedication to getting all the services they could to help their daughter, paired with their amazing follow through will lead to great outcomes,” says Johanna Oldham, the family’s support coordinator. “We are looking forward to hearing more about Amazing Amelia’s milestones in the years to come.”