When our son Carver was born, there were some complications. The umbilical cord was wrapped around him, and at one point, he was without oxygen and a heartbeat. The doctors didn’t know what the future held for Carver, but they also didn’t know what a fighter he was. After 10 days in the NICU we were able to take our healthy and beautiful baby boy home.
At first, Carver was a typical baby, but as time went on we noticed that his legs “looked funny” and he wasn’t reaching physical milestones. After several doctor visits, Carver was diagnosed with Spastic Diplegic Cerebral Palsy, a condition which makes his legs stiff and walking difficult, caused from the lack of oxygen during his birth.
Despite all our medical visits, no one mentioned Early ACCESS. I had never heard of it either, until a co-worker gave me the name and number of an angel named Jan who worked at Child Health Specialty Clinics (CHSC). Jan is an Early ACCESS Service Coordinator and the parent of a child with special needs. She helped us set up in-home physical therapy, speech therapy, and consultations with a CHSC dietitian via Skype. Jan also helped us navigate the foreign worlds of Social Security Insurance/Disability and Medicaid for children with special health care needs. These are supports that we would not have been able to figure out on our own. Having a child with special needs can be scary and well…HARD!
I am so thankful that I had another mother guiding me through those first critical years of my son’s life. My only regret is that we didn’t get referred to Early ACCESS the day he was born.