Teresa, the youngest, and fifth of the Morales children to receive pediatric therapy services here at the Schreiber Center faced hurdles with her speech and fine motor skills. Her parents, already familiar with the impact of our services, turned to Schreiber again, in the hopes that we could help Teresa savor the simple joys of childhood and build the tools necessary to succeed in adulthood.
Early life for Teresa felt like a puzzle missing crucial pieces. Her toys requiring nimble fingers laid untouched, and words escaped her, leaving her frustrated and easily overwhelmed. Family outings felt more like survival missions than moments to cherish.
Following Early Intervention services, Evelyn brought Teresa to Schreiber where she embarked on a journey to unravel her potential. With each session, her therapists Maddy, Camilla, and later Sarah weren’t just guiding her through exercises, but rather sculpting experiences tailored to Teresa’s interests. Sensory integration was a cornerstone to her sessions, weaving therapy tasks with activities specifically designed to help balance her sensory needs and help her focus on her therapy tasks. It was in these moments that she found the balance she needed to thrive.
Now, Sarah and Maddy skillfully maintain Teresa’s focus during therapy by introducing captivating games and activities tailored to her interests. By aligning tasks with her current preferences, they’ve witnessed incredible strides. Teresa’s artistic abilities have flourished, delighting her mother, who proudly exclaims, “She can draw a person now!” This achievement stands as a monumental step for Teresa, considering her past aversion to crayons due to sensory issues.
Her therapists have each provided the family with strategies to support her progress at home. As a result, the entire household now actively engages in sensory activities and verbal interactions. Evelyn shares that “I’m overstimulated” has become a familiar phrase in their home which serves as a unique tool for the family, helping them not only acknowledge their individual thresholds but also establish personal boundaries within the household.
Aside from engaging in sensory exercises at home, the family actively aids Teresa’s language development. Through guidance from Maddy, they’ve discovered that avoiding direct questions like “What color is this?” in favor of options like “Would you like to color this blue?” and allowing Teresa to express her choice by finding the specific color she prefers is a more effective learning approach for her.
Gaining confidence in her language abilities has empowered Teresa to voice her desires and needs effectively. Her newfound skills in self-advocacy have transformed her life. Now attending a mainstream preschool, she joyfully engages with friends, relishing playtime in the make-believe kitchen. Teresa has evolved from merely trailing her friends and staying silent to being an active participant, engaging in reciprocal play and conversation. She’s even developed a fondness for family outings and group activities, enhancing not only her own experience but the collective enjoyment of her entire family.
Evelyn, having navigated the therapeutic journey with five of her children at the Schreiber Center, imparts a valuable lesson for families walking a similar path. Her wisdom encapsulates the essence of patience and cherishing the seemingly small victories. In her words, “Be patient. Appreciate the small things. Sometimes parents get too caught up in the big milestones and forget to celebrate the small improvements. It’s those small things that are a big deal and celebrating them helps keep your child motivated to keep working towards reaching the big goals.”
Help Schreiber Clients like Teresa receive the care they need, consider donating in support of our Kids’ Care Fund, a long and short term savings account used to cover the costs of uncompensated care.
As a nationally recognized pediatric facility, the Schreiber Center for Pediatric Development provides family-centered education and therapy programs for infants, children and adolescents with disabilities, developmental delays, and acquired injuries. Our goal-oriented approach maximizes each child’s ability to function independently within the community.