Families

The Extraordinary Give is coming

Step 1: Join us here at the Center on Thursday, Nov. 9, for Give Thanks for Schreiber Night. Starting at 5 p.m., we will have hundreds of luminaries set out around the outside of the campus. Inside, we’ll have a bunch of fun stuff planned, from crafts and games to face painting and pumpkin decorating. So stop by for some fall family fun, then take a moment to light a candle in honor of or in memory someone special with a connection to Schreiber. And we’ll have a special treat for you to take home with you, we promise.

UPDATE, 10/23: The first 500 visitors to light one of our luminaries will receive a free Stroopie from Lancaster Stroopies. If you haven’t had one of these, yet, don’t wait. Come to Schreiber on Nov. 9, light a candle and get a Stroopie.
Step 2: Mark your calendars for Friday, Nov. 17, and bookmark Schreiber’s donation page at www.extragive.org. Here’s our donation page. The giving starts at midnight, and the more donations we receive between midnight and 3 a.m., the better our chances for being at the top of the Extra Give leaderboard. And be ready to share your donation on social media (and tag us on Facebook and Twitter): Post about your gift with #helpschreiberkids, tag friends to encourage them to give, and Like and Comment when you see updates. And we’ll again be downtown on the day of the Give with our friends from FM97. In past years, you could find us at Lancaster Dispensing Co. With the fire there recently, we will be in a different spot (details to come!).

UPDATE, 10/12: We confirmed that we will have our Extra Give party at the Federal Taphouse, at the corner of Queen and Chestnut streets, and just two blocks from the big Extra Give party at Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square.

UPDATE, 10/19: We will be at the Federal Taphouse throughout the day on Nov. 17, starting when they open for lunch at 11:30 a.m. When you are out and about downtown that day, stop in for lunch, dinner or drinks, and take a minute to donate to Scheriber. FM97’s DC will be on hand to play music from noon to 6 p.m. If you come by after work, we’ll have live music by Jen and Brad Rhine from Blue Sky Falls from 6-7, followed by MOE Blues from 7:30-8:30.

UPDATE, 11/16: We gratefully acknowledge support from three companies providing Business Matches for this year’s Give: Atlee Hall, Mid-Atlantic ProTel and Medisys Solutions.

Step 3: Remember to give extra during the Extra Give. Your past support has meant so much to us, but the demand for our therapy services continues to surge. Every dollar you donate helps us serve as many children as possible.

Please consider donating to Schreiber during the Extra Give on Nov. 17. When you give extra, extraordinary things happen.

Happy birthday, Michelina

“Can we see, yet?” Amy asked.

“Not yet,” came a voice from the side of the truck.

Then a moment later: “OK, now you can look.”

Amy and Michelina, a soon-to-be-10-year-old from Lancaster, walked slowly around the front of the truck. That’s when she saw the surprise.

Two small ponies, gentle brown and white ones named Finn and Valor.

She covered her mouth, but a quiet squeal of delight managed to escape. Michelina loves horses. She loves all animals, really. She has received occupational therapy at Schreiber for about two years, and Cami, a KPETS therapy dog, has been her constant companion.

KPETS volunteer Rhonda Taylor, who handles Cami, knew about Michelina’s love of horses and suggested to Amy the birthday surprise (her birthday is Sept. 30). Rhonda contacted Julie Good, who runs a Lancaster County horse farm and provides horses to KPETS for equine therapy. Julie said she could bring the ponies.
Mary Riley, Michelina’s grandmother and legal guardian, signed off on the idea, and that’s what brought all of them to Schreiber’s parking lot Tuesday afternoon.

“(Schreiber) has a wonderful staff; you all are so good at what you do,” Mary said. “And working with KPETS has really helped open up Michelina.”

Mary said her granddaughter is on the autism spectrum and has post-traumatic stress disorder. Her parents were on drugs, Mary said, and Michelina was born addicted to drugs. Mary and took custody when her granddaughter was 3 months old.

Amy has been Michelina’s only therapist in her time at Schreiber.

“She’s made a lot of progress,” Amy said. “We’ve really been working on her with self care. Things like hair brushing and brushing her teeth and getting herself dressed. And we work on social skills, so we talk to people in the waiting room.”

She’s come a long way. To stop and talk to a grown up would have been stressful a year ago. Now, she handles it well. Of course, it helped that Cami was nearby.

“When she’s getting stressed, Cami will lay her head on her lap,” Amy said. “As long as (Michelina) can get through her social interactions, she should be able to do pretty well with her life.”

Just at that moment, Michelina finished putting a braid in Valor’s mane and gave him a goodbye hug. That connection might just be the way Michelina learns to live to her fullest potential, which is always the goal here at Schreiber.

“She relaxed when she’s around animals,” Amy said. “Maybe that’s what her future will hold.”
When you make a contribution to Schreiber, you help us do the work that makes it possible for children like Michelina to reach her fullest potential. Please consider a gift to Schreiber today.

Preschool gets a visit from a GrumpaSaurusPotalope

Randall, who lives in East Hempfield Township, recently visited Schreiber’s S.T.A.R.S. Preschool where his daughter, Harper, is a student. He came to read his new book, “GrumpaSaurusPotalope.”

The book took about six months to produce, start to finish. The basic idea came out much more quickly, during a therapy visit in November. Harper was a toe walker. After about a year and a half of physical therapy, including a combination of bracing, casting and gait training, she is almost completely free of the toe walking.

“I was here with Harper for PT,” Randall said. “I had brought my notebook, and I just wrote a couple things down. It came out in about a half-hour. I kind of based it on her and her sister (Elle, who is 3) and how they get when they’re hungry and tired. The idea I had was a GrumpaSaurus.”

All the parents reading this are nodding their heads right now. Hungry and tired, GrumpaSaurus — sounds right.
From there, he started playing with some other words that would kind of suggest hungry and tired. Here’s a passage from an early page after one of the children in the book skips a midday nap:

“You used to be pleasant and sweet to all of us,
But now you’ve turned into a huge GrumpaSaurus.
You yell and you scream for no reason at all.
Then smash your block buildings with your favorite ball.”

Later in the book, Randall conjures up more scary creatures, including a GrumpLope, a GrumpaPotamus and even a dreaded StinkaLinka. Jaci Rice’s illustrations, simple and watercolor-ish, creatively complement Randall’s wordplay. Jaci is Randall’s sister-in-law; her sister Leah is married to Randall.

“(Jaci) is an artist,” Randall said. “She always wanted to do a children’s book, but she never had an idea. I gave her the words I had, broken down into pages where an image could go. She took a couple months to come up with the pictures.”
Randall and Jaci used Amazon’s CreateSpace self-publishing platform to lay out the pages with the images on them. They went through two proofs and a bunch of revisions before signing off on the final version in May. He visited Schreiber in early June, Harper in the circle with her friends and Leah and Elle watching from the back.

This is Randall’s third book. His first was a nonfiction book about his great-grandfather’s experience in World War I called “My Life in the U.S. Navy.” He also wrote a young-adult book called “Elijah B: The Treasure of Morgan Malone.”

“He’s always told me he likes writing,” Leah said. “With his military background and the first book, this is a 180 from what you would assume he would want to do. But we had these two little girls, so he has all kinds of inspiration. It’s really just to help them take care of themselves: Eat a snack, take a nap and you won’t turn into a scary monster.”
He has sold about 30 copies so far, and he’s trying to promote it on social media with author pages on Facebook and Instagram. In between work and going to Millersville to get his master’s degree in social work, he doesn’t have a lot of free time.

He was happy to spend some of it coming to Schreiber for the reading to a bunch of preschoolers. From the way the kids settled in with their own individual copies of the book – each copy signed – it looked like they were happy, too.

***
Help us provide therapy and educational services for children like Harper. Visit our DonateNow page here and set up a recurring gift. Your $10 monthly gift will pay for one half-hour of therapy or two weeks of preschool. Questions? Call the Financial Development Office at 717-393-0425 ext. 105.

Michael Corretger: Hearing is believing

Like a lot of the kids we see at Schreiber, Michael has had a pretty rough start to life. His mother, Migdalia “Mickey” Malave, worked third shift at Lancaster General Hospital while she was pregnant. After Michael was born, she went back to work, and he stayed with a woman who offered day care services out of her home.

When Michael was about a year old, he started experiencing seizures. Mickey said they were afebrile seizures: She said he would look like he was daydreaming or zoning out.

He was also prone to ear infections. It turned out the ear infections would cause fevers, which would then often trigger the seizures.

Mickey said she quit her job so she could devote more time to taking care of Michael, running him to doctor visits or having tests done.

“And I needed to find a new day care,” Mickey said. “She was very nice, but she wasn’t set up to take care of him the way he needed.”

She worked through a long list of interviews with different centers before she came to Schreiber and met with Christina Kalyan at Circle of Friends.

“I would be talking and asking questions and everything would be fine, and then I’d mention Michael’s seizures, and I’d get this look,” Mickey said, recalling her experiences with other centers. “When I talked with Christina, she said, ‘What kind of seizures?’ She was the only one to ask that. Then I got the tour and saw everything you do here, and I was, like, yes this is the place.”
She was even more sure about her choice when Christina started talking to her about Michael.

“My son was 13, 14 months old, and he couldn’t say ‘Mom’; that didn’t seem right,” said Mickey, who has two older daughters, Monique, 14, and Jasmine, 13. “I had him in for a hearing test, and they said he was fine. But Christina noticed he couldn’t hear. She said, ‘You have to be his advocate. Insurance will cover this if you take him to an ENT. Get him tested again.’ I did, and they found he had the fluid building up in his ears and wasn’t hearing well.”

Michael is 3 (and turns 4 in August), and he’s finally starting to turn some corners. He underwent surgery in May at Lancaster General to put tubes in his ears to clear the fluid buildup from the infections and restore his hearing. While they did that, doctors also took out his tonsils to relieve sleep apnea.

He receives speech therapy at Schreiber to help him overcome the speech delay caused by his hearing impairment, and he’s on medicine to help control the seizures.

All of that means he’s sleeping better, hearing better and speaking better. Mickey couldn’t be more happy with Michael’s progress at Schreiber.

“It’s been a wonderful experience,” she said. “I wouldn’t change it for anything.”

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Help us to provide therapy and educational services for children like Michael. Visit our DonateNow page here and set up a recurring gift. Your $10 monthly gift will pay for one half-hour of therapy or keep Circle of Friends stocked with blankets for the babies in our new infant care room. Questions? Call the Financial Development Office at 717-393-0425 ext. 105.

Seeing the glass half full with Shelby Stroman

Shelby was born with numerous complications tied to having Aicardi syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that occurrs almost exclusively in females. The condition leads to difficult-to-control epilepsy, developmental delays and retinal defects.

Steve is the primary caregiver during the week, so he’s the one we usually see here at Schreiber with Shelby. In his part-time work from home, he’s an environmental and policy consultant for nonprofit advocacy groups. Mom Judie Howrylak is a physician and medical researcher at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. They live in Manheim Township.

Steve said Shelby has been back and forth to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia several times to treat the severe epilepsy, most recently in early 2017.

“She had a very rough patch the past two months, but she seems to be recovering,” Steve said in early May. “She’s actually this sweet, very resilient warrior princess. It’s amazing how strong she is. I think that’s what makes her captivating to people.”

The family started coming to Schreiber in March 2016 to receive all three types of therapy — physical, occupational and speech.

In that time, Shelby has seen seven different therapists, both for home visits and here at the Center. Steve has been consistently impressed with all the therapists and their care.
“We’re extremely pleased with the quality of the therapy and the concern and empathy of the staff,” he said. “We’ve had a great experience.

“We’ve been very fortunate to get several pieces of home medical equipment, some of them very expensive. Kristie Schreoder took the lead in writing the order so that it could be paid for by insurance. It’s not always easy to make that happen. You need a lot of competence and experience, which Kristie obviously has.”

With all her different issues, improvement can be hard to see, let alone measure.

“We have goals and look for progress, but sometimes circumstances change when she has a setback,” Steve said. Before her most recent setback, he said, “She was very close to being able to pull herself up into a sit. Now we’re trying to rebuild her arm and leg strength.”

He keeps his eye on the big picture, which he said is to maximize her developmental potential. What that means exactly nobody really knows.

“The life expectancy for what Shelby has is eight years,” he said. “We’re hoping to do everything we can to push the envelope as much as possible. There’s a girl in Australia with Aicardi who sings and walks. The oldest surving person has lived to be in her 30s. We’re hoping with improvements in drugs and treatment that Shelby can push those boundaries.”

That might seem like a steep hill or long odds or whatever metaphor you might choose. Steve picked a different one as he watched Shelby prepare for another round of core work on a big blue exercise ball.

“We tend to see the glass half full.”

***
Does Shelby touch your heart? Should every child who needs our services be able to receive them? You can help make that happen. Just visit our DonateNow page here and set up a recurring gift. Just $10 a month will pay for one half-hour of therapy for one child like Shelby. Questions? Call the Financial Development Office at 717-393-0425 ext. 105.

Summer means camps at Schreiber

Let’s start with our new camps.

First, we’re offering two handwriting camps. Ready to Write is aimed at younger kids, ages 41/2 to 6 (entering preschool or kindergarten). This camp develops readiness skills for writing with focus on motor and perceptual skills required for writing fluency.

The Write Stuff is for 6-8 year olds (enterting first through third grade) who have already learned letter and number recognition and printing but need some extra practice. Focus is on foundational skills of posture, fine motor control and visual-motor skills.

Both camps will be led by a licensed occupational therapist, and the emphasis will be on fun. All campers will receive their own handwriting kit.

Handwriting camps will run twice a week (Mondays and Wednesdays) for six weeks starting July 10. For more information on times, dates and prices, visit our summer camps page here.

The other new offering will be our Sensory Explorer Camp. This camps will offer young children a broad range of therapeutic activities that involve sensory play and social skills development. It is open to all children of all abilities. Activities will include: water play, arts and crafts, outdoor games, music and nature hikes.

This camp will serve kids ages 4-7, and you can pick from a morning or afternoon session. The Sensory Explorer Camp will run Aug. 7-10. For details, visit the summer camps page here.
And don’t forget about our flagship camp, Camp Schreiber. In its 21st year, Camp Schreiber offers the classic week-long summer camp experience for kids and youth ages 8 to 21. Weekly sessions start June 26 and continue through the week of July 24, including an abbreviated camp week on July 5-6.

Finally, for teens we have our Club 625 Camp, the summertime version of our Club 625 outings. Young people can reconnect with old friends and meet new ones during our camp weeks in the first two weeks of August. This program offers fun on-site activities, as well as opportunities to work on social skills during outings in the community.

To register for any of our camps, visit our registration page here.

Anthony Melendez’s new look

On top of that, Anthony was also born without his right ear, the result of a rare condition known as Goldenhar syndrome. Jen Melendez, Anthony’s mom, said his other physical challenges had been identified before he was born. WIth his various conditions to monitor, doctors didn’t recognize the ear was missing until after Anthony was delivered at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in June 2010.

Since then, Anthony has yearly follow-up appointments with Dr. Scott Bartlett and a team of cranio-facial specialists at CHOP to monitor his progress. Jen said Dr. Bartlett had told her that Anthony might be able to undergo a procedure to improve the appearance of the area where his ear was missing.

She wasn’t in a big hurry to do the surgery, mainly because it wasn’t something she thought needed to be “fixed.”
“We used to call it his love nub,” Jen said. “We didn’t make a big deal out of it. He was perfect to me.”

The CHOP doctors are one of the few places in the country trained in MEDPOR ear reconstruction, a procedure developed by a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon that uses a plastic implant attached using the patient’s own tissue.

For Anthony, doctors would mold the implant from his fully formed ear, take some tissue from his scalp that would serve as a kind of living glue and stitch the implant into this tissue and onto the side of his head. Then they would take some additional skin from his groin and stitch that over the implant to make it look more like a real ear.

Jen went ahead with the procedure for Anthony on Nov. 21. The surgery took seven hours, and he was in the hospital for two days, leaving in time to be home for Thanksgiving.

Two weeks later, the protective mold came off and she was able to see his new ear for the first time.

“Even though they try to prepare you for everything involved, it doesn’t completely prepare you,” Jen said. “I was expecting to see a perfectly formed ear, but it was swollen and bruised. It didn’t look like an ear at that point.”

There were a couple of setbacks requiring two additional surgeries – one in December and another in February.
By mid-March, six weeks after the third surgery, the swelling and redness were fading, and Anthony was beginning to look like he had something approaching a normal right ear. The new one is still a little larger than the one he was born with, but that’s on purpose.

“He’ll grow into it,” Jen said.

Still, it’s been a stressful time.

“Living through it and watching him go through it, it takes a toll on me,” Jen said. “There were times I thought the implant was failing. I was doubting myself.”

During a recent physical therapy session, Anthony was more than willing to stop for some pictures. He was still the same bouncy little boy. The process doesn’t seem to have changed him, even if he understands that he is changed.

“At one point, we finally talked about it,” Jen said. “I said, ‘That’s your ear.’ And he said, ‘That’s my ear? For me?’ And I said, ‘For you.'”

She turned back to watch as Anthony continued with his therapy session, taking one more step on the long journey to realizing his fullest potential.

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If Anthony’s story moves you, visit our donation page and consider a small recurring contribution. Your monthly or quarterly gift will make a difference in the lives of Anthony and the thousands of kids we see throughout the year.

Scotty Chappell adjusting to life ‘untethered’

Scotty was born with a tethered spinal cord, meaning his spinal cord was attached to the tissue surrounding the spine, allowing little room for the spinal cord to move without causing discomfort or pain. At the age of 3, Scott had surgery to “untether” the spinal cord so it could move more freely and grow normally.

Starting about three months ago, Scotty began receiving occupational therapy here at Schreiber. Scotty’s mother, Tracy, said the family’s main goal with Scotty was to improve the fine motor skills he lacked as a result of his birth condition.

Scotty typically fears trying new things related to his physical senses. The first time he tried to use the ladder in Schreiber’s indoor OT gym brought him to tears because of anxiety. Today he confidently climbs with no hesitation.

Tracy has seen noticeable advancements in Scotty’s muscle strength and hand-eye coordination since he started at Schreiber. Through a number of activities involving strength, balance and aim, Scotty is no longer using his entire body to cross his midline to accomplish minor tasks, such as throwing a bean bag through a target hole or picking up something placed behind him. Fun-loving and emotional, Scotty always looks forward to spending time with Laura at Schreiber.

“All the therapists go above and beyond to make sure each kid in our family is involved,” Tracy said. She said her time at Schreiber has become a family experience. Scott’s sister, Ella, 6, has autism and has received therapy here, too. Tracy, who lives in Elizabethtown, said having the whole family feel so involved enhances their experiences.

During Scotty’s sessions, Tracy closely watched what the therapists do so she can use the same techniques at home. For example, she can now monitor how Scotty holds a pencil or uses scissors, so for the next week’s session he can be an expert.

Whether it’s squeezing putty, climbing a ladder, or swinging on the indoor equipment, Scotty is always prepared to progress in a fun and playful environment. And Laura is right there with him.

***
Are you particularly grateful for the work of a Schreiber therapist? You can show your appreciation by making a small monthly donation in their honor. Just visit our DonateNow page here to set up your recurring gift. And be sure to include a dedication note as you fill out the online donation form. Questions? Call the Financial Development Office at 717-393-0425 ext. 105.

Schreiber speech therapist works her magic

Thomas started coming to Schreiber in January. (Note: That’s not his real name; his parents asked not to use his first name or their last name to protect his privacy.) He’s a cute, fun little guy with a thick thatch of blond hair.

His mother Mandy was feeling anxious about what she was seeing with her son. Thomas was talking by the time he was 3, but there were problems.

“He could speak short sentences, but he was pushing his words together and I couldn’t understand him,” Mandy said.

He had the vocabulary, but he struggled to get the words out. And then he would get frustrated or would act silly to redirect, his mom said.

After checking with their pediatrician and with their therapist at IU-13, she decided she wanted private therapy.

“So we came to Schreiber,” Mandy said.

They started working with Katie, who noticed something right away: Thomas was talking too fast.

“When he came in, he was hard to understand,” Katie said. “He talked really fast. He was making articulation errors, grammar errors. He was using wrong verbs. The first rule we had was: Slow down.”

Mandy said it was like she flipped a switch.

“By the third session, he was a different kid,” she said. “She gave him the tools in three sessions to make him just relax. She gave him the reassurance and the confidence to slow down.”

His problems aren’t as complex as some of the kids Katie sees. There’s no underlying diagnosis other than speech and language delay. And while each child is unique, it’s fairly common to see kids with language delays, Katie said. T was evaluated before he came to Schreiber, and that therapist recommended services.

“Sometimes, kids need services to correct those things,” she said. “Based on the great progress he has already made, starting therapy was a good choice.”

Thomas has a specific set of therapy goals. He’s learning to read cues so he’s aware when people have trouble understanding him. He’s working on the difference between past tense and present tense.

“He might say ‘we eated pizza’ or ‘we go to the store’ when he meant ‘we went to the store,'” Katie said.

He’s working on a couple of specific sounds that give him trouble, like making sure an “L” sound doesn’t slip into a “W.”

And, of course, he’s trying to take it slow.

Mandy said the difference is huge.

“He’s proud of his behavior,” she said. “He’s a storyteller, and he’s funny. He’s able to use words to make a joke. He’s T now – the T I always knew he would be.”

And she gave Katie and Schreiber all the credit.

“They are magicians,” Mandy said. “And that’s not everywhere. Even in the medical community, that’s not most places. This place is special.”

***
Are you particularly grateful for the work of a Schreiber therapist? You can show your appreciation by making a small monthly donation in their honor. Just visit our DonateNow page here to set up your recurring gift. And be sure to include a dedication note as you fill out the online donation form.

Chris Yost teaches a new generation of young swimmers

She’s been teaching Lancaster County kids how to swim for more than 25 years, mostly at the Lancaster YWCA. She started volunteering at Schreiber about six or seven years ago, helping Education Director Jay Graver in the preschool classroom.

That led to Lisa Gilbert, who used to run Schreiber’s swim program, asking Chris if she would be interested volunteering as a Swim Buddy, teaching the preschool kids water safety.

“When Lisa left, I said to Jay, ‘I would do preschool swim for you as long as I could also do (private) lessons,” Chris said.

The funny thing is, Chris grew up in Baltimore and never saw an indoor pool until probably middle school.

“We swam in the bay or the ocean,” she said.

But she took to pool activities like a duck to you-know-what.

She started out in an aquatic exercise class for adults — as a participant. Then she had some opporutnities to help with some kids’ classes.

“One of the instructors saw me and said, ‘You’re pretty good with kids. We should get you certified’,” Chris said.

She’s been in the water ever since.

“She’s probably helped thousands of kids in Lancaster County learn to swim,” Jay said.

She has about 24 kids signed up for lessons now. Most are one-to-one lessons; occasionally with a sibling she might work with two kids at a time.
Thursdays are her busy day. She’s in the pool from 10:30 in the morning to past 7 at night. One recent Thursday, Colby Haines showed off his skills, jumping in at one corner of the pool and swimming diagonally to the far corner.

“He could not swim when he started,” she said. “A little nervous about getting in. Didn’t want to get his face wet. Now, he’s doing really well.”

And that’s what keeps her coming back: seeing kids grow. It’s an extension of everything that happens at Schreiber.

“The kids are so wonderful,” she said. “We like the inclusion idea. Kids feel so comfortable with any kind of child. The people here, the teachers, the therapists — they’re all here for the kids. It’s just a great atmosphere to be involved in.”

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Ever thought about volunteering at Schreiber? As Chris Yost’s story shows, there are plenty of ways to become involved. Be a Swim Buddy with the Schreiber S.T.A.R.S. preschoolers. Help in the Circle of Friends Academy classroom. Bring a group to Schreiber to clean, spread mulch or decorate for a holiday. For more information, contact Volunteer Coordinator Susan Fisher by email or at 717-393-0425 ext. 129.