What a difference a stroller can make in a person's life! When Jeremy Bacon and his family applied to get a much needed new stroller, Regional Center gave them a wheelchair. A stroller is a collapsible, portable, light weight wheelchair that allows an individual to participate in walks, hikes and even runs! Since, the Bacon family does not own a wheelchair-friendly car they were unable to make use of the chair. A wheelchair is very difficult to transport, especially for an active young man.
Through the aid of the Bellows grant, United Cerebral Palsy was able to provide Jeremy with a brand new stroller. The gift got to the family at the perfect time, the day before Jeremy's graduation at Orange Coast Community College. Without the new stroller, Jeremy would have had to roll across the stage in his old stroller, one he had out grown by two feet! Not only did Jeremy use the stroller provided at graduation, but he continues to use it daily. He especially enjoys riding around the pier and the park. Thanks to the help of UCP-OC, Jeremy will be able to use this gift for many years to come!
Jacob is a year old boy with two brothers and a sister; his mother explains, “he is a boy first not Down Syndrome.” Jacob is a gift whose smile lights up a room. He knows what he wants and thrives off of structure. When first meeting the family, Jacob was quick to get on the computer in the lobby, and go on Google! It may have been my yellow sweater that triggered the memory, but I saw that and was reminded of Curious George’s innocent curiosity. His mom describes him as tenderhearted and a helper. “He sees a need and is the first one to go and help.” She reminisces about an instance that occurs quite often actually when it is time for carpool. Their carpool will get in the car and the second she sits down Jacob will say “here let me help you with your seatbelt!” Please keep in mind the carpool is eleven and highly capable of securing her own seatbelt, he just wants to help! At home he is the first to wake up in the morning, and is eager and proud to set the table every night with a smile on his face. Jacob comes to UCP-OC for occupational therapy. Click here to read more
The month November has many important days such as Thanksgiving…. and Black Friday,and its our Child of the Month, Dylan’s, birthday! Dylan Delgadillo was born prematurely on 11/05/09, arriving about 15 weeks early and weighing only 900 grams (under 2lbs.). He needed to have a prolonged hospital stay as he gained weight and strength, and needed the assistance of a ventilator to breathe. His young parents, Brian and Melanie have struggled with Dylan’s situation – Brian works full-time and Melanie was a student who now stays home to care for Dylan. This young family has moved to Huntington Beach to co-reside with the grandmother in order to meet all their needs.
At 8 months-old, Dylan was responding as a 4 month-old, which as considered within normal limits due to his prematurity – but he was clearly at high-risk for developmental delay. Due to stricter eligibility criteria form the State of California, he did not qualify for the State’s Early Start program, however he was entered into the Prevention Plan and began Let’s Grow classes at UCP-OC with Moira, one of our highly experienced Physical therapists. At 17 months-old (13 months adjusted), Dylan was not walking and Moira suggested that he be fitted with orthotics to give him greater stability. Click here to read more
Alexa is an 18 month-old with the cutest pony-tails on the top of her head. Her smile melts your heart and you cannot help but smile back! Even better, Alexa knows exactly what to do when a camera is present. Lights, camera, action…she’s a star! Alexa even knows how to perform behind a camera too! While I was taking pictures of her, she took my camera and started taking pictures of herself, simply adorable.
Alexa has hypotonia, which means she has low muscle tone and hyper extension in her limbs. At six months the family saw that she had trouble bearing weight, and went to see a doctor. After many tests and a diagnosis, Dr. Lin suggested the family come to UCP-OC. Her mother only says great things of our Therapy Center and loves that Melanie and Jeanne tell her what to do at home and that it is a professional organization with a kid friendly atmosphere. Click here to read more
If you are a parent, perhaps you're able to imagine what it's like to work full-time and meet the needs of three children - lots of scheduling, lots of driving, lots of laundry, lots of noise, and lots of pressure. And now imagine how that might become significantly more complicated if those three children were 11 year-old triplet boys. Take this scenario one step further and imagine that one triplet is diagnosed with ADHD, one triplet has quadriplegic cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, and one has cerebral palsy and is blind. Feeling somewhat stressed? Well, meet the Gessler family who live it every day!
The Gessler triplets, Samuel, Benjamin and Austin, were born prematurely at 25 weeks. The parents, Deborah and Steve, both work in addition to being full-time advocates, chauffeurs, therapists, and master logisticians. So it became imperative for them to find some assistance that would allow Benjamin and Austin to attend a summer program to provide Mom and Dad a chance to work without worry or interruption. This is where UCP-OC entered the scene.
UCP's Inclusion Connection Program completed Functional Assessments for two of the boys and made specific suggestions about what modifications and adaptations they were going to need in order to be safely included in a summer program with typical children. Regional Center of Orange County accepted both reports and supported the recommendations.
David and Christina, the trained Inclusion Facilitators from UCP's Childcare Connection, took the boys to the Sunshine Company Day Camp and made sure they were able to participate in activities, interact with the other children and most importantly - HAVE FUN! The triplets mom wanted her boys to have the kind of summer every kid should have. Days filled with friends and fun. As the summer progressed, she watched with amazement how her boys matured. They typical kids demonstrated social skills to her boys that no adult could teach them. "For the first time in their lives, my sons are starting to make friends with other kids." Steve Gessler added to his wife's expression of satisfaction by simply saying "it would be hard to be happier."