Schreiber Pediatric Center - Shorter wait times are a boost for Marin family

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October 27, 2017

Shorter wait times are a boost for Marin family

Posted by Dan  Permalink 

We talk a lot about how the wait times to receive services at Schreiber have gone way down in the past five years. Velveth Marin, who has been bringing her two young sons to Schreiber for the past four years, has seen the change up close.

Velveth Marin gently rubs the leg of her son Kevin as he waits to begin a therapy appointment. Velveth's two sons receive therapy at Schreiber, and she has seen first hand how the wait times to begin services have been reduced. She also has seen the expertise of the staff working with two very different situations.

Velveth has two sons. The oldest, Luis, is 10. Velveth, answering questions with the help of Susan Fisher, our translator, said she heard about Schreiber from her pediatrician after Luis was diagnosed with autism when he was 3.

It took three years from the time she was referred until Luis was finally able to start receiving services in 2013. That's how long the wait times were for speech therapy.

With her second son, Kevin, doctors detected hydrocephalus during the pregnancy, and he was born in 2013 with his own set of complications.

At 14 months old, when it was time for him to begin services at Schreiber, Velveth said Kevin was able to start almost immediately.

"Very different," Velveth said. "I've told friends to come here for services, and they got right in, too."

Whether the wait has been long or short, Velveth said the benefits of coming to Schreiber have been the same: amazing.

With Luis, at the time of his diagnosis at age 3, he was nonverbal. By the time he started at Schreiber, when he was 6, he still wasn't speaking.

"'Mama,' 'Dada,' that was it," Velveth said.

He started in Speech-Language Therapy with Barbara Miller -- "Miss Barbara," Velveth called her.

"She started working with him," she said. "After two or three months, we could see he was paying attention and starting to understand directions. ... Then he started saying things. Probably when he was 7, he was speaking."

Luis is in fifth grade now, doing well in a classroom for students with autism.

"He's a good kid," Velveth said. "He's learning to express himself. He gets along with other kids. He has started to draw and have an imagination. Miss Barbara is the angel that opened the door."

Kevin Marin takes a break from a video game as he waits to begin a therapy session.

Kevin has had a different path. His hydrocephaly caused complications that made it difficult to diagnose him. Eventually, he was diagnosed with Chiari malformations, a condition in which parts of the brain protrude into the spinal column and some of the nerve tissue that connects the two sides of his brain were missing.

"Doctors said he'd never walk or eat by himself," Velveth said. "When we started here, he couldn't sit. He would just lay in bed."

He began his physical therapy at 14 months with Lisa Stachler Volk, who showed Velveth how to help Kevin sit and how to massage his legs to help improve his muscle tone. At 18 months, Kevin started to roll over. Then he was fitted with braces and started learning to stand.

He's 4 now, and he walked from his stroller back to a recent therapy session with no assistance, although he still wears a brace to support his weaker left side. He also receives occupational therapy to reduce his anxiety about walking on different surfaces. His brain had difficulty processing going from grass to the mulch of a playground, for example.

"He used to cry and cry and wouldn't do it," she said. "Now he can do it. All these little things he's doing, like going down a slide, they're normal for other kids. They're so amazing for us."

She has seen him progress in other ways, too. He used to be anxious about different food textures and would only take liquids; now he's learning to chew. He's much calmer and more confident. He sleeps better.

All of which is to say: Schreiber and the Marin family found each other at the right time.

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