2012-2013 Easter Seals of the Birmingham Area Pediatric Ambassadors
Ambassador Richie Poff
Richie was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PPD-NOS), an Autism Spectrum Disorder, when he was almost 3 ½ years old. Richie was delayed in speech and fine motor skills along with proprioceptive issues (not able to understand how to walk up steps, push the pedals on a tricycle, or how much force to use to pull open a door). Therapy was started almost immediately at Children’s and Richie attended a church preschool where he also received additional help through an IEP. In the fall of 2011, as Richie was starting kindergarten at Valley Elementary School in Pelham, therapy really needed to be closer to home and closer to school. Richie’s father called Easter Seals begging to get therapy started as soon as possible. First, Richie started with Ms. Tosha for Occupational Therapy and was then invited to Ms. Kandis’ Social Group. Since starting therapy at Easter Seals one year ago, Richie has meet all his goals in OT and “graduated” from OT, has quickly moved through his sounds and has improved his articulation almost to age level, and continues to learn in Social Group, as social interaction with peers is his biggest challenge (as is common with autism). Easter Seals has been a great blessing to the whole family in location, having a great staff and therapists, and, most importantly, with Richie enjoying going to Easter Seals each week.
Ambassador Quinn Roberts
Quinn is an energetic, friendly 3.5 year old with Autism, OCD, and sensory processing issues. At the time of his diagnosis, August of 2011, his language skills were evaluated as being 11 months behind. He had approximately 4 spontaneous words, communicating largely through the use of echolalia. He could memorize entire sentences and use them in conversation. Quinn insisted on wearing fleece pants and long sleeve shirts no matter the weather. He would run in fear
from the sound of a hair dryer. He spent most of his time with his mother, the only person who could calm him. When out in public he was frightened by loud noises. People would ask if he was shy when he began to shake if they talked to him. He is often mistaken for a 5-6 year old due to being 43” tall. This presents problems for him because he does not interact as a 5 year old or typical 3.5 year old. Due to his Autism, he has trouble understanding and following social rules of interaction. Quinn was 30 months old when he first asked for food. He could go an entire day without eating because he would not ask for food. He did not interact well with his peers or engage in play. He spent most of his “play” time lining up toys, he liked to watch other children but was unsure how to join in their activities.
Through Easter Seals, Quinn has grown by leaps and bounds in interaction and communication. The Social Pragmatic Skills therapy groups has given Quinn the skills and ability to begin to join in with his fellow peers. He is learning to take turns and talk about topics that interest others. The ground work has been laid for him to master these skills with Easter Seals’ help.
Ambassador Daniel Smith
Daniel was born 11/14/2007 12 weeks early and weighing 2.14 pounds. We did not know until he was born that he has Down syndrome. Daniel had to have stomach surgery at 6 weeks to remove a blockage in his upper bowel and did not come home from the hospital till his 3 month birthday. When Daniel was close to a year old he was diagnosed with Infantile Spasms and was on many medications to try to stop the spasms. This spring we have completely come off all medication for the spasms. We live in Bibb County so our Early Intervention was thru the Tuscaloosa office. We also received extra OT PT &SP thru Northport DCH outpatient therapy. Daniel attends the Bibb Co. Special Needs Preschool he has been going since he turned 3 and he receives OT PT & SP at school. Daniel started receiving services at the Pelham Easter Seals office in 2011. When we started with Easter Seals Daniel had only been crawling for about 6 months and he is now walking with the aid of his walker and has also just recently turned loose and taken a few steps on his own. Daniel has always had texture issues with food and eating and he is making great strides with textures and with hand over hand feeding. Also Daniel is non verbal other than saying momma once in a while. Since starting services with ES of Pelham Daniel has started signing for all done and more and understands many of the signs we use with him on a daily basis. We are so thankful for the services and love and compassion Daniel receives from everyone at Easter Seals.
Ambassador Kelcey Johnson
Kelcey is a 5th grade student that attends Helena Intermediate School. She is 10 years old and has two sisters, Kelyce 13 and Kennedi 4. Kelcey is very outgoing and she is the very definition of a “social butterfly.” She loves meeting people and speaks to everyone she comes in contact with. In Kelcey’s mind there is no such thing as a stranger. She is vibrant, full of life, and has a smile that captures your heart however; Kelcey continues to live a very happy and productive life.
When Kelcey was born she was diagnosed with a condition called Klippel Trenaunay Weber Syndrome. It is a very rare condition, but that has not stopped or limited Kelcey’s progression. She lives a very happy life and she continues to overcome some of the odds associated with this condition. Kelcey has made major steps in her progress and thanks to the Easter Seals organization she continues to shine. Kelcey began attending the Easter Seals organization in 2009 to assist with her communication efforts.With the dedication and support of her speech therapist Kelcey’s communication has gotten much better and that has had a significant impact, not only at school, but at home as well. Easter Seals continues to offer the most productive services for children and Kelcey is a prime example of that. If you ever get the opportunity to see Kelcey or meet Kelcey you can definitely expect to be greeted with a warm and welcoming hug and smile!