Breanna was born a healthy, full-term baby - or so her parents thought. After three days, the doctors suspected there was a problem, and she was flown to Johns Hopkins Hospital where they discovered she had a heart defect that was not detected by ultrasound. For the next year she was in and out of the hospital.
Medications and intubation to help her breathe saved her life, but they have long-term effects too. In a routine surgery to place tubes in Breanna’s ears, doctors discovered she was deaf. Her mom, Jessica, was scared because she did not know how to help her daughter until a friend told her about Easter Seals’ children’s therapy program.
“She is a fighter. She almost died several times. When I first found out Breanna was deaf, there were a lot of emotions. It didn’t sink in at the time. It is starting to affect us more now since we can see the differences between other 3-year-olds and Breanna. It makes us sad,” Jessica says. “Going to Easter Seals was the best decision we’ve ever made. We’ve really seen her grow and take off.”
At Easter Seals, Breanna receives physical therapy to help her gain confidence to walk independently, speech therapy to help with her speech delay and help her transition from a feeding tube to feeding herself consistently, and occupational therapy to improve her eye-hand coordination. Since Breanna started therapy just a few months ago she has been making more sounds, is using two hands to explore toys, will soon be getting a walker and is handling different spoons and a toothbrush better, which are all steps toward meeting her long-term goals.
“Breanna’s progress is excellent. The therapists have given me better ideas of how to help her. They are great to work with. They are so compassionate, outgoing and caring, and they make therapy fun for kids. As a parent, I can see what the therapists are doing, but Breanna is just having fun,” Jessica says. ”I’ve seen so much improvement in such a short time.”
May is Better Hearing and Speech Month. Although more than 5 million children in the United States have speech, language, and hearing disorders, parents are often uninformed and unsure about what to do when they suspect their child may be affected.
The Easter Seals team of American Speech-Language-Hearing Association-certified speech language pathologists can provide the answers parents seek. Easter Seals licensed speech-language pathologists are available to provide services to children of all ages in Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
To learn more about how Easter Seals helps children and adults with disabilities, call 1-800-677-3800 or go to www.de.easterseals.com.