Sometimes a serendipitous meeting can change the course of someone’s life. And this was the case for Kayden, a two-year-old boy in Llano County near Austin.
Last summer, Lauretta, a physical therapist on our Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) team, was providing therapy to a young girl at daycare. During the session, she noticed a boy in the class who wasn’t moving. At 12 months old, little Kayden was just sitting there.
When Lauretta inquired about him, she learned that Kayden hadn’t met any of his developmental milestones – he couldn’t roll over or crawl, let alone pull himself up. As the other kids crawled, cruised and toddled around him, Kayden simply sat.
Immobile and frustrated, Kayden wasn’t receiving any therapies.
His mom, Ashton, who worked at the daycare he attended, had a rough first year with Kayden. After a traumatic and nearly fatal birth left him with cerebral ischemia (lack of oxygen to the brain), Kayden has been battling complications, including seizures and gastrointestinal blockages. He has neurological issues, developmental delays and behavior challenges due to brain damage and the medications he has been on. He screams and cries out of exasperation. He has difficulty regulating his body and his emotions.
“After learning of his condition, I was depressed, scared, and in shock. My baby was in NICU for almost a month and he was on 3 different seizure medications. It was my first experience being a mother and I was very anxious and worried,” shares Ashton.
Ashton works hard at balancing medical appointments and her full-time job, often missing a full day of work to take Kayden to San Antonio or Austin to see specialists. Ashton never misses an appointment. She does this despite lost wages and lack of reliable transportation or gas money.
Ashton adores her sweet son. She dresses him in coordinated outfits and styles his hair. She treats this tiny child with so much love and respect as only a mother can, despite difficult circumstances.
“Ashton is incredibly motivated and seeks out answers and ways to help Kayden. Even with challenges in her way, she just does it!” says Lauretta, Kayden’s physical therapist with Any Baby Can.
After enrolling in ECI, Kayden was finally able to get physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, specialized skills training and case management to assist with his medical needs. Ashton and Kayden now have a team. They meet weekly, working toward the milestones he has missed.
Any Baby Can helped the family apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), find doctors, and obtain a medical walker and braces for his feet. Last holiday season, when it felt like Ashton and Kayden were in “survival mode,” they were able to receive Christmas gifts through Adopt-a-Family.
Ashton’s grandmother has been a huge support system. She and Ashton have gained skills to work with Kayden in between his sessions. Grandma watches Kayden while Ashton is at work, and spends hours each day building his skills. In a few months, Kayden went from not being able to stand, to pulling up and walking with a walker.
At two, he can now walk independently thanks to the diligent work that his mom, grandmother and therapists have put in. He has also made significant gains in all areas of development.
Kayden is going to need intensive medical management and behavioral therapy, probably for his whole life. However, the ability to work one-on-one with qualified therapists at such an early point in his development has drastically increased his odds of having a more fulfilling life.
“Any Baby Can changed Kayden’s life and got him to do things that people may have never expected him to do. He is talking so much, walking and climbing. I feel supported. I still have stress in regards to his development, but having a team to talk through and brainstorm my concerns with has given me peace of mind,” says Ashton.
Ashton is now planning for the future. She wants to go back to school so she can obtain a better job and achieve additional financial stability for her and Kayden.Any Baby Can is a proud provider of the Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) program for select service areas in Travis, Hays, Llano and Blanco Counties. The ECI model was built on the understanding that the most effective time to improve a child’s ability to grow and learn is before the age of three.