Speech therapy

Deanna and Zoey learn to live with Rett

Zoey Adair

Zoey and some of her preschool friends play in a sandbox in a photo from 2019. Zoey has learned many different skills at Schreiber as she and her family deal with her diagnosis of Rett Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder.

Deanna Adair has been a Schreiber physical therapist for five years. Her daughter Zoey attended Schreiber’s S.T.A.R.S. preschool and Circle of Friends Academy and is now in kindergarten. Zoey also receives therapy services. She has Rett Syndrome, a rare neurological disorder affecting mostly girls. Individuals with Rett appear to develop normally until 6-18 months of age, after which they go through a regression and lose acquired skills. Zoey was diagnosed at 21 months of age. She began to display gross motor and language delays by 9-10 months of age, and began to lose her fine motor skills around 18 months.

Zoey, who will turn 7 in July, is unable to walk independently or talk, and has lost the ability to use her hands functionally or chew food. She communicates using an Eyegaze device and a yes/no board. She eats pureed foods and drinks thickened liquids, and has a feeding tube for supplemental hydration.

Zoey Adair, 7, has Rett Syndrome, which has created a host of complex medical issues for her. Her mother Deanna is a Schreiber physical therapist, and she recently reflected on the fifth anniversary of Zoey’s diagnosis.

She also has scoliosis and obstructive sleep apnea, for which she uses a BIPAP machine. Rett Syndrome is not a degenerative disorder (brain cells are intact), and has been shown to be reversible in a lab setting, indicating that it may be curable in humans.

Deanna recently wrote a Facebook post to mark the fifth anniversary of Zoey’s diagnosis. She agreed to share it here.


Deanna Adair

I can’t believe it’s been five years since we received Zoey’s Rett Syndrome diagnosis. It was Friday the 13th. I was on my way from my old job to pick her up from day care at Schreiber and answered the phone call as I was getting on the highway. I thought they were going to tell me that further testing was needed, because they only agreed to test for Rett “for peace of mind,” since I asked, but that’s not how it went. They gave us an appointment at the CHOP Rett clinic three days later and told me not to look it up on the internet. Guess what I spent the entire weekend doing?! After two days on the couch, I had to pick myself up and do what needed to be done for our girl. After all, she was the same sweet, beautiful little girl she had been before the diagnosis.

This is Zoey at age 2, right around the time the family learned of her diagnosis.

We have learned a lot since that day, and we are determined to give her the best life possible and find ways for her to learn and experience as much as she can. She is such a sweetheart, has a sense of humor, is smart, works hard, and is just a happy girl. Life has not been easy, and we have our tough times, but she is worth it!

Lately, we have been working on things like a special needs trust for her future, which can be overwhelming to think about, and the older she gets without there being a treatment or cure, the harder it is, too. But our girl has had an amazing year in kindergarten, having fun and learning to read and write using eye gaze, and we are so proud of her!

Here’s a recent family photo of the Adairs, with Deanna and Zoey along with Deanna’s husband Matt and Zoey’s little brother Zayden.

Penn State awards first Schreiber scholarship

Anicia Anderson can trace her interest in a speech-language pathology career to hearing a guest speaker during a high school health class. She was in 10th grade at North Haven High School, a public high school in North Haven, Conn.

The speaker was looking for volunteers to come and work in a group home for older adults with autism. Anicia said she thought it sounded interesting, and she needed the community service hours, so she went.

Anicia Anderson is the first recipient of the Schreiber scholarship for a graduate student in speech therapy at Penn State.

“That was my first experience with people that were non-verbal,” said Anicia, thoughtful and gracious with her time during a recent phone interview. “That kind of geared my passion to wanting to work with people that have communication challenges.”

That first psychic nudge started her on a path toward a career she knew nothing about as a 15-year-old in the little town of North Haven (population about 25,000), a northern suburb of New Haven, home of Yale University.

Anicia received her bachelor’s degree from Penn State this spring and will begin pursuing a master’s degree there in speech-language pathology. She is the first recipient of the Schreiber Center for Pediatric Development Educational Equity Graduate Scholarship. The scholarship comes from a new fund established by Schreiber and Penn State to address the lack of diversity in the field of speech therapy.

“There’s not a lot of diversity in the field of speech-language pathology,” Anicia said. “Clinicians see clients from all different backgrounds and races and cultures. Inclusion is important: having a diverse clientele, having more diverse students entering the field, having more diversity among clinicians. I look forward to helping to make that change.”

Anicia didn’t know much about the scholarship or Schreiber before she was admitted into the grad program. “I’m in a diversity recruitment group, and I heard the name, but I didn’t really know what it was about.”

That soon changed. Dr. Diane Williams is a professor and department head in the Department of Communications Sciences and Disorders, where Anicia will continue her speech therapy studies. She approached Anicia about the scholarship.

Dr. Diane Williams, head
of the Department
of Communication Sciences
and Disorders at Penn State

“We chose Anicia because of her academic achievements,” Dr. Williams wrote in an email, “her strong letters of recommendation, her interest in working with children with complex communication needs like those served by the Schreiber Center, and because of her efforts around issues of diversity and inclusion.”

Dr. Williams joined a recent Schreiber board meeting to announce the first scholarship award. In her remarks, she thanked Schreiber’s leadership for its willingness to take a strong stand on increasing diversity, and for their good timing.

“When James (DeBord) reached out to us last year, the timing was just right,” Dr. Williams said. “My department had come together to make a commitment to work to increase diversity in the field of speech-language pathology. James’ offer to raise funds for a scholarship to support a student in speech-language pathology from a diverse background was such a generous one. We saw it as not only an opportunity to help us increase the diversity in our graduate program and our field but also as an opportunity to form a stronger relationship with the Schreiber Center, a program with an incredible history of service to the community.”

Schreiber President James DeBord

DeBord, Schreiber’s president, said he was excited to hear that Penn State had found such an outstanding student to be the first Schreiber scholarship recipient. And, he added, this is just the beginning.

“My hope is that Anicia is the first in a long line of scholars and future speech-language pathologists who will change countless lives for the better,” James said. “And that they will better reflect the communities in which they serve. The plan now is that this continues every two years, in perpetuity. She will be the first in this pantheon of these distinguished scholars.”

Anicia comes from a town where fewer than 5 percent of the population is black. She said she was one of the few black students at her high school.

Pursuing a career in speech therapy, in which around 95 percent of therapists are white, might seem intimidating for some students of color. Anicia was unfazed.

“Since I went to a school that didn’t have a lot of diversity, it’s something that I’m used to,” Anicia said. “Increasing diversity is important; it can help to open people’s minds.”


Donate to the scholarship fund

Schreiber has raised about half of the $275,000 needed to fulfill its pledge to create the $550,000 scholarship fund. To make a donation and help Schreiber continue the work of making the field of speech-language pathology more diverse, visit the Penn State Scholarship Fund page here.

Penn State students build a better bike for Schreiber

We have a lot of therapy bikes at Schreiber. But there was a certain kind of bike we were missing: a hand bike, no pedaling, for school-age kids. Enter a group of senior mechanical engineering students from Penn State Harrisburg.

Bernie Hershey, a Schreiber occupational therapist, was the one who suggested the project to the group in September.

Bernie Hershey, right, a Schreiber occupational therapist, guides Owen Hull as he rides on the first version of a new therapy bike. The bike was made by a team of four mechanical engineering students from Penn State Harrisburg, including Nicole Linke and Michael Ruch, who are behind Bernie and Owen.

The students, all seniors — Nicole Linke, 21; Cody Mackanick, 23; Michael Ruch, 23; and Andrew Saienni, 23 — came to visit Schreiber after Nicole and Michael had interned over the summer with Arconic, a Lancaster County manufacturer. Arconic has supported Schreiber for several years by donating and sending volunteers. Nicole and Michael joined a group of Arconic employees for a service day at Schreiber that included a tour by Susan Fisher, Schreiber’s volunteer coordinator.

“We have one hand bike, and it’s too small for some of the kids that need it,” Bernie said. “Susan brought them to me, and they said they were looking for a capstone project for their senior year.”

The tour sparked their engineer brains immediately.

“When I saw this old therapy bike they had, I was intrigued,” Nicole said. “I thought that looked like something we could work on.”

The idea they developed with Bernie was to build a bike for kids ages 6-12 that would require the kids to pedal using only their hands. (Watch Zoey Zweizig do a demonstration ride in the video below.)

“We’re always looking for ways to have upper body resistance,” Bernie said. “One of the best ways to build upper body strength is to have them propel themselves through space.”

From left, Nicole Linke, Cody Mackanick and Michael Ruch, students from Penn State Harrisburg, demonstrate for Bernie Hershey the new therapy bike they built for Schreiber.

That movement triggers the release of endorphins in the brain that are pleasing and calming at the same time. Bernie saw that immediately when Owen Hull climbed on the bike. Owen is 5, and he receives occupational, physical and speech-language therapy at Schreiber. He’s on the autism spectrum, said his mom Monica Hull.
“If you noticed, the more he rode the more he talked to the college students,” Bernie said. “He engaged with those kids, which he normally doesn’t do. He was mechanically inspecting the bike and asking questions about it. Oh, I got such a charge out of it.”

The students have enjoyed the work, too. They started in September and the bike they brought this week was a first prototype. They will take it back and make adjustments based on the feedback from Bernie, and from the kids. They asked the kids what colors the bike should be, for example. The project should be finished in April and will be exhibited during Penn State Harrisburg’s annual show of capstone engineering projects in May.

None of the students knew anything about Schreiber a year ago. All are from outside of Lancaster County. But they connected right away with Schreiber’s mission and wanted to do something to help.

Owen Hull, who is on the autism spectrum, opened up after riding for a few minutes on the prototype of the new therapy bike.

“I just liked spending a year working on something that will help someone instead of making something for a company that might not even use it,” Nicole said.

“Knowing that it would be used every day is really important,” Cody Mackanick added.

The students raised the money for the bike themselves, about $1,500 in all, through a GoFundMe page. They spent a portion of that for the materials to build the bike.

And the rest? That money they will donate that to Schreiber.

Changes bring start of new era

Some of you probably already know that what we call Schreiber today has been around since 1936. In those 82 years, we have gone by several different names: The Society for Crippled Children and Adults, the National Easter Seals Society and, starting in 1994, Schreiber Pediatric Rehab Center of Lancaster County.

Now, we are excited to tell you about our new name and introduce our new logo.

The new logo for the Schreiber Center for Pediatric Development. Logo design by Trump Tschudy Design, Lancaster.

In the nearly 25 years since we adopted our most recent name, Schreiber has experienced many changes and a lot of growth. We see more children than ever. We see kids with a wider array of diagnoses. We did a major expansion in 2006, and we have added new services, including aquatic therapy, thanks to our new pool, and the Circle of Friends Academy daycare center, which now accepts children as young as 6 weeks.

The staff and the board leadership of the center began to think that our name didn’t reflect the breadth of services we provide. While we still see many kids that you might expect to see at Schreiber, kids born with cerebral palsy or spina bifida, we also see lots of other kids whose challenges aren’t nearly as complex. They might have a minor speech delay or need a little help with their fine motor skills.

We also have a fair number of typically developing kids. They attend our S.T.A.R.S. Preschool or Circle of Friends. Or they come for swim lessons. Or they attend with their parents to learn baby signing or infant massage or kids’ yoga.

As our new mission statement reads: “We provide everything needed for all of life’s challenges, so that families and children can reach their dreams and vision. We see every child’s unique capabilities and help them achieve their fullest potential.”

The new mission statement guided the conversations about finding a new name. After numerous meetings during the strategic planning process of 2017, a stakeholder survey and a final review by the board, we will now be officially known as the Schreiber Center for Pediatric Development.

We didn’t want our brand to send the message that we are fixing “broken” kids. We are helping any family seeking services so that their son or daughter can be their best selves.

And we felt it was important to emphasize our new name with a new logo, one that keeps the name Schreiber at the center of our identity.

So take in our new name: The Schreiber Center for Pediatric Development. Check out our new logo. And know that we will keep doing what we’ve tried to do for 82 years: Enriching lives. Giving hope. For all who need us, every day.

Support Schreiber for the Extra Give

We have a new name and a new logo, but we still rely on the generosity of the community to operate.

Please consider a gift to Schreiber during the Extraordinary Give on Nov. 16. Go to www.extragive.org anytime on Nov. 16, find Schreiber’s listing and donate. It’s that easy. And every dollar supports the children of Schreiber.

Collaboration is central to Schreiber’s mission

At Schreiber, we love to partner with other community organizations where missions overlap. We have exciting news about two new collaborations to talk about.

Lillian Chea, a student in Schreiber’s S.T.A.R.S. Preschool, works on a piece of art that will be displayed at the Homestead Village stop for Lancaster Artwalk Oct. 6-7.

The first is about art. Lancaster Artwalk presents its next Artwalk Weekend Oct. 5-7, and there are at least 36 different locations participating.

The vast majority are in downtown Lancaster’s many art galleries and shops, but Artwalk has moved into the suburbs this year by adding a stop at Homestead Village’s Bachman Center, right next to us here at Schreiber.

The Bachman Center will be open for Artsfest 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 7.

The best news: We will submit some 90 pieces of art, all made by Schreiber kiddos, for display at Homestead throughout the weekend.

Art from our preschoolers and day care kids and by clients will be next to works by 11 Lancaster County artisans, including Barry Smith, Doug Good, Barbara Ulmer and Kitty Filling.

Jay Graver, Schreiber’s director of educational services, has been coordinating the gathering of art from Schreiber kids. There’s a chance you could see a piece by Malcolm Corley, a Schreiber kiddo and emerging young artist we wrote about recently.

The schedule at Homestead will also feature pottery and glass-blowing demonstrations (Saturday) and screen-printing by the Thaddeus Stevens STEM Truck (Sunday).

Donations made during the event will benefit the Homestead Village endowment fund. Schreiber is happy to support’s Homestead as they have supported us, through sending volunteers for our Intergenerational Program, their annual Mother’s Day Jewelry Sale and contributing to our special events, like our Gala and the Rubber Duckie Race.

Catherine Donohue

The other collaboration taps more directly into our expertise in providing therapy services for children. In this case, these would be services for some of the most vulnerable children.

The Lancaster County Behavioral Health and Developmental Services is launching a pilot program to serve families that have babies born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. The program could be expanded later to serve families that have other conditions present at birth, including Down Syndrome.

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, or NAS, happens when a baby is exposed to drugs in the womb and suffers withdrawl after birth. The condition can cause many serious problems, including low birthweight, breathing and feeding problems and seizures.

The county selected three Early Intervention special instructors to start the program, and one of them is Schreiber’s Catherine Donohue, an early intervention teacher who specailizes in working with kids ages birth to age 3 that have developmental delays.

“They were looking for people who wanted to do this, and I wanted to do this,” said Catherine, who has worked at Schreiber for 13 years. “I’ve always been interested in that hospital connection.”

That hospital connection will make this program different than the work she typically does. Most of the time, Catherine sees kids at home, at day care or here at the Center. For this new BHDS program, the babies will still be in the neonatal intensive care unit, and she will be working with families in their homes.

The teachers will show families “how can they prepare themselves and their home to bring a special needs child home,” Catherine said.

The program calls for teachers to work with biological families and foster families.

“That’s one of the things they were looking for in the teachers, and I’ve done that,” she said.

Meet the Grassos, a second generation Schreiber family

Starting services at Schreiber for two of her children did not create anxiety for Andrea Grasso. She had seen what Schreiber did for two of her sisters.

The Grasso family, Nick, Paxton, Giuliana and Andrea, at this year’s Schreiber Gala.

Andrea’s sister Ashley was born with Prader-Willi Syndrome, a rare genetic condition that creates a host of physical and developmental challenges.

“We came to Schreiber almost every day of the week for her preschool and her therapy services,” Andrea said. “It was just something I grew up with. (Schreiber is) something that’s been part of my family since she was born.”

Then her parents adopted Ariel, a little girl who had Down Syndrome. And the visits to Schreiber continued.

Fast forward a few years. Andrea met and married Nick Grasso. Nick was an only child, but that didn’t make it harder to blend in with his new family. It might have made it easier.

“Both of my sisters just love Nick,” Andrea said. “They just gravitated toward him, and he would embrace them with open arms.”

When it was time for Andrea and Nick to start a family, they were both open to children with special needs. For Andrea, it was a natural continuation of the relationships she built with her sisters as a child. For Nick, he saw they had the experiences and the resources that few adopting parents could offer.
So they adopted Mia and Giuliana, and Giuliana has Do

Ariel Regan, right, is one of Andrea Grasso’s sisters. Ariel was having fun at Camp Schreiber in 2014 with Marla Peiffer.

wn Syndrome, just like Andrea’s sister Ariel. And they have two biological sons, Paxton and Jude.

Of the four, it was Paxton’s start in life that proved to be the scariest. They had taken him home from the hospital, but at 10 days something appeared to be wrong. He was crying and fussy and not wanting to eat. At the pediatrician’s office, the doctor saw Paxton have a seizure and sent them right to Lancaster General Hospital.

The medical team there came back with the kind of news that would be any new parent’s worst nightmare.

“The doctor came in and said, ‘He has a Level 3 brain hemorrhage. We need to get him to Hershey. LifeLine will be here in 7 minutes. And you need to get to Hershey as soon as you can.'”

Andrea remembers little of what happened on the trip to Penn State’s Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

“I know it was a whirlwind of doctors. And I remember pleading, ‘Can I please go with him? Can I please go with him?’ And they said no. And from that point on it was just a blur. We got to Hershey, and he had already been there for 15 or 20 minutes. They had him settled in a room. And he had tubes, and he was just very sick. It was terrifying. As a new mom, you have two young children at home already, and then you have this new baby, and he’s sick and you don’t know why. And you don’t know what caused it. You don’t know what happened. It’s just absolutely terrifying.”

Paxton Grasso

Paxton’s stay in the hospital lasted a month and a half. While he was there, doctors placed a shunt in his brain that connects to a small tube that runs down into his abdomen. The shunt keeps any fluid from building up in his brain again.

He’s a healthy, happy little guy now. But that early bit of brain trauma left him with some sensory issues, which, in turn, create some behavior issues. He attends Schreiber’s S.T.A.R.S. Preschool and has received occupational therapy for a little more than a year.

“He was a different kid when he (first) came in,” Andrea said. “He was shy and very cautious and anxious and nervous. The progress we’ve seen, even over the last six months, is incredible. He is now so much more calm and so much more relaxed. He’s learning how to regulate himself and how to regulate his emotions. He’s learning how to deal with different sensory issues. He’s learning those coping skills.”
The progress with Giuliana has been equally remarkable.

“When we first fostered her, she was a little less than a year old,” Andrea said. “At that point, she couldn’t hold her head up, she couldn’t roll over. She couldn’t do anything. She was already delayed because of the Down Syndrome, but she was also very much delayed because of neglect.”

Giuliana Grasso

And now, after five years of therapy first through Lancaster County Early Intervention and then at Schreiber, she can do so much more.

“She came (to Schreiber) being not being able to say two words together,” Andrea said. “Now, she’s able to say, ‘I want this,’ or ‘I need that.’ She can say sentences. That’s huge.”

Andrea knows more than most what a difference Schreiber can make in a child’s life. She saw it with her sisters. She’s seeing it now with her son and daughter. For many families, this is one of the few places, maybe even the last place, where they can have hope. Hope that a son will live a full life free of anxiety, or a daughter will learn to talk.

“Families with children with disabilities, they hang onto (Schreiber),” she said. “People from the outside need to see what happens here. They need to see how remarkable this place is and the incredible things that come out of here.”

Jason Hines found his voice at Schreiber

Working the checkout line at Stauffers of Kissel Hill in Lititz, Jason Hines keeps up a steady stream of chatter with every customer who comes through his line.

For some, he takes the numbers from their bill and references a date in history (he’s a history buff).

“You learn a lot of history here,” one woman told him.

Jason Hines checks out customers at the Stauffers of Kissel Hill in Lititz. When Jason was 3, he had speech delays related to autism. Today, he charms customers with his witty banter.

For others, he’ll share something about himself.

“This is the third anniversary of my becoming a standup comic,” he told another woman.

For every customer, he found some way to add a little extra bit of service.

“You saved 299 pennies today,” he said to one couple. “Have a great day.”

He’s 18 years old, a high school graduate working and taking classes at the Lancaster campus of Harrisburg Area Community College.

The Jason the folks at Stauffers know now is a long way from the Jason who came to Schreiber at age 3. Even before starting at Schreiber, Jason had been diagnosed with autism and was receiving Early Intervention services. Jason’s specific diagnosis, said his mom Jackie, was PDD-NOS: Pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified.

“I had some problems talking and had some motor delays,” Jason said.

Jackie is a special instructor at Schreiber. She knows her way around education and kids with autism and other learning disabilities. Even for her, choices could be hard. When Jason was 5 and it was time to decide whether or not to start school, Jackie was torn.

“I struggled whether to keep him in early intervention or have him start kindergarten,” she said. “Cognitively, he was ready. But his expressive language with that of a 2 year old. Ultimately we decided to send him to kindergarten, and we had plenty of support services in place.”

Initially at Schreiber, he received all threee services and special instruction from Jay Graver in the S.T.A.R.S. Preschool. Eventually, he concentrated on occupational therapy, attending Schreiber until he was 8 to work on his sensory integration, fine motor skills and attention and focus.

By middle school, he had made a lot of progress, but he still worried that he wasn’t always speaking correctly.

“Once ninth grade hit, kids stopped being jerks, and I started making more friends,” Jason said.

In high school, he flourished. He was involved in an anti-bullying program, he did plays, he sang in the choir. He joined the Unite Club, Warwick High School’s Mini-THON in support of the Four Diamonds Fund.

“I raised the most money, which made me King of Mini-THON,” Jason said.

All of his success helped him become senior class vice president and gain enough confidence to start trying to become a performer. He has dabbled in stand up comedy, telling jokes and doing impressions. He made news this month when Lancaster Online noticed that his witty patter with customers included an impression of Philadelphia Eagles play-by-play announcer Merrill Reese.

That’s how he is every day on the job at Stauffers, always a willing performer, especially for little kids. He will talk like Mickey Mouse or do voices from “Monsters Inc.” or “Frozen.” He will ask them about their favorite characters. Kids will ask moms to go to Jason’s line when they check out.

Toni Lutz, a shift supervisor for the cashiers at the Lititz store, said she knew Jason before he even started working at Stauffers. He and her daughter Madeline went to school together at Warwick.

“He’s naturally that way,” Toni said. “He’s nicer than most people. He’s just kind. It’s refreshing.”

“We Delight Shoppers” is a lyric in the Stauffers jingle, and Jason said he sang that at the end of his job interview back in 2015.

“It helped me get the job,” he said. “My charm wins people over.”

At HACC, he’s taking classes with an eye on becoming a teacher, probably an elementary school teacher. Which means he would be working with little ones on their writing and speaking and making sure they were paying attention.

And that feels just about right.

The Brenneman boys are all Schreiber boys

“I love it here,” Dani said. “It’s so good here. Everybody gets you. They understand what you’re going through. And everybody is so friendly and so accepting.”

Miles eventually received occupational and speech therapy, along with continuing his PT. He was with Jay Graver in preschool for two years, and he was joined the second year by his younger brother Levi.

“Miles was here three times a week for preschool and therapy, Levi was here twice a week,” said Dani, who lives in West Lampeter Township with her husband, David, and the boys. “We were coming every day for that year.”
Miles eventually graduated from preschool to start kindergarten. He’s 6 now. Levi and Isaac still attend Mr. Jay’s preschool.

“When we were looking around for preschools for Miles, I liked the emphasis here on diversity and that there are children of all abilities,” said Dani, who has an associate degree from Harrisburg Area Community College in early childhood education. “I liked it so much I’ve sent all my boys here.”

Well, almost all. The youngest, Asher, is only 4 months old. He comes along when Mom drops off Levi and Isaac, so he’s getting to know Schreiber, too. Even if it’s only as the place where he gets his morning feeding and a nap.

Soon enough, though, Mr. Jay can probably expect to see the fourth Brenneman boy come through.

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.”

***
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.

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.