What A Difference VBC Has Made in Our Lives!
Vaughn Blumberg Center opened in 1980 the same year that Hayden was born here in Dothan. We became involved in the Early Intervention program at VBC around 1 year of age and it was a Life Saver. We know Hayden benefited from all the early stimulation she received with an individual planned program and therapy for her special needs. The relationships my family and Hayden have made through VBC have become life-long friendships. The staff, the other parents, and also the other consumers are all like our family. The positive atmosphere from everyone at VBC can make you feel better even when you are having a rough day. We are so thankful that as a special needs adult, now age 29, Hayden has a place to attend during the day with scheduled activities and compassionate staff. Houston County is extremely fortunate to have a facility like VBC in our community. Thank You VBC for the difference you have made in our lives!
My name is Denise Burthlong and I would like to tell you about my wonderful little bundle of joy her name is Kodi Precious Angel Hill she was born on May the 6. 2006. I delivered Kodi at twenty-five weeks and she weigh in at a whopping 1lb and 7oz. I had never in my life seen something so little, immediately after she was born she was flown to children hospital in Birmingham Alabama, I arrived a couple of day later. Nothing could have prepare me for what was to come . I’m thinking in my mind that all was to be done was to get her fat and we would be on our way home. Kodi was a very sick little girl she devolved this illness call NEC it stands for Necrotizing Encephalitis basically her intestine were rotting . Then I was informed by the doctors that Kodi had a hole so big in her heart that they had to surgical close it, it was one bad thing after another at that point all I could do was to keep praying. I was not accepting the doctor telling me that my baby was dying. The final blow Kodi’s kidneys was shutting down. After my baby and I went through all that darkness together I stay together because I talked to Kodi everyday all day and I would say to her “You do your part and Mama is going to do her part and together we are going to get through this ok”. A week passed and in Kodi’s catheter there was a little yellow; that was urine her kidneys were trying to function, all the impurities that was in her body was flowing out, the swelling was going down Thank You Jesus, but Kodi still had a long way to go, she was still having these episodes where her heart rate would drop and she would stop breathing. That went on for a while. The doctors told me the closer she get to her rightful due date the less Brady cardias she would have.
We stayed in Birmingham for three in half months, Kodi prognosis was looking good every day. She was getting very good reports from the nurses and doctors, when I started dressing her in regular baby clothes I know it was no turning back Kodi was well enough to be moved to a more advanced unit, then from there she was moved to a floor, then from there home praise the lord. Home even though it was were I was most familiar it was a very scary place, Kodi came home with a few machine that I was familiar with but the nurses was not there to help me, but I had came to far to let fear stop me now beside that my faith in god and the love I have for my children conquered all fear. So I put the Lord first and jumped in with both feet and just did with I had to do.
Then these wonderful people came into my life from Alabama Early Intervention Systems that’s when I started to realize I was not alone. Through the Vaughn-Blumberg I met Kathy Flack and through her Kodi and I as well as my other two children Aaron 12 now and Darien 9 now was getting ready to start a new journey in our lives. Kodi was set up with physical and speech therapist and any other need that would benefit Kodi with her devoplomental, not only did they helped Kodi but involved my whole family we looked forward to seeing Paige, Amber, Lea, Hannah, Kristen, and Stephanie Wilkerson.
Kodi turned three in May and she was no longer eligible, but the people from Vaughn-blumberg made a big difference in all our lives. Kodi delay is not to delayed, she talks, runs, jump and play like any other three year old and to look at her today you would not think that she had such a rough start in life. I thank God for allowing His angels from Vaughn-Blumberg to assist with Kodi devoploment, they all have a special place in my heart, I would suggest to anybody if your child is diagnose with a condition or you just feel something is not right please get in touch with Early Intervention. It does make as difference.
– Denise Burthlong
Nicky was born in 2006. Everything was pretty normal. He went through his first year without any problems. Around 14 months of age we noticed that his words did not sound right. They just sounded like his tongue was tied in knots. My husband and I did not know what to do as our two older children did not had any trouble with their communication. When they started… they didn’t stop.
I thought that maybe Nicky could not hear very well so this is where we started. We took him to have his hearing checked and the doctor didn’t think his hearing was the problem. She told me about Early Intervention Services. I then went and talked to the lady at Early Intervention. This is when things just seem to start rolling to make sure Nicky got the help he needed.
We did a interview with two ladies to see how far behind Nick was. At that time, Nicky was around 23 months old. He was at a 14 months old level for communication. This is when Ms. Stephanie (Service Coordinator and Special Instructor) started coming to work with Nicky. She helps the whole family to learn baby signs to help Nicky. He picked this up very good. This helped us to communicate with Nicky a lot more and to understand what he wanted. About a month later, Ms. Casey, Speech Therapist, started coming. Ms. Casey worked with Nicky on sounds. The starting sound of the words. These two ladies have worked with Nicky for about 8 months now. They have made really great progress when him when they started with Nicky. He couldn’t say Daddy at the time. Mama was not clear and you could not understand 4of the words when he spoken 5 of them.
Ms. Stephanie and Ms. Casey have worked wonders with Nicky. He has made great progress. Everyone has noticed how much more Nicky is saying now. There is more work to do but I feel as long as these two very special ladies keep working with him that everything will work out.
Early Intervention has been God sent to Nicky and the family. A big thank you to everyone at Early Intervention. My family believes in helping children in any way possible and Early Intervention believes in the same. If we can help any child we will do everything we can.
Dear Vaughn-Blumberg Staff:
We are writing this letter to thank you for all of your help with our youngest son. His name is Jacob and he was born with a very rare kidney disease called congenital nephrosis of the Finnish type. He was very ill from birth and eventually had both kidneys removed. He was on dialysis for twelve months before he received his kidney transplant on February 3, 2009.
As you can imagine, Jacob has been in the hospital a lot and has had numerous surgeries. Because of this and also due to his illness, he is developmentally delayed. We have received such great support and help from your facility and most especially Stephanie Wilkerson. She has been wonderful to us and helped to facilitate all of the services that Jacob has needed. He has made tremendous strides and that is due in large part to the help that he has been able to receive through Vaughn-Blumberg.
Please know that we will be forever thankful for your help and look forward to watching the continued progress that Jacob will make through your programs.
The Pettie Family
Kevin, Melissa, Joshua and Jacob
Jacob is the answer to many years of longing and prayer. Finally, on November 14th 2006 we recieved the greatest gift a couple can get. Our pregnancy went wonderfully but 2 weeks before our due date Jacob decided to turn head up, so off to a c-section we went. There wasn’t much a-typical about Jacob as an infant, he hit all of his milestones right on schedule until about 10-12 months. He babbled and cooed like a baby should in the beginning but at some point the verbalizations and experimentation with sounds stopped. When he began eating, we started to see some definite likes and dislikes appear. We had no idea at this point that he may have been exibiting some of the signs of sensory processing disorder which results in some pretty significant texture aversions.
Jacob was a very calm, loving and happy baby. I remember even as a little baby, he would get really still when there were kisses to be had, I used to think it was so that he wouldn’t miss even one. We used to notice when he started crawling and getting around, how extremely observant and engaged in his environment he was. He would find even the littlest speck of something on the floor, even if it was around a corner and under the fridge he would find the one m&m you forgot to sweep up. We would comment jokingly that maybe he will grow up and become a detective like Sherlock Holmes. When he got a little older, closer to around 12 months, he would see things that would make him happy or get excited about something such as the Backyardigans, he would stand in front of the tv and flap his arms with the biggest smile on his face. The more excited and happy he felt, the harder he flapped.
All these little things were just Jacob. They weren’t different or strange to us because as our first child, we had no baseline to compare to. Instead of developing words and expressing needs with gestures when he was about 13 or 14 months of age, Jacob began making more of the normal vocalizations and sounds that you would typically hear from a baby. He would make repetitive sounds alot, mostly when he was looking at his toys or a book. I think it was at this point that we really began to look around at other children and notice things that were different about them as compared to Jacob. It just didn’t seem like he had the understanding or expressive abilities that they did.
I know, and have been told that you should never compare your child with another but at some point you have to. You know in your heart when something just isn’t right, it’s the admitting it part and figuring out what to do next that is so difficult. It was suggested that we contact early intervention services and get an evaluation for Jacob to see if he is just stubborn and has behavioral problems, or in fact behind and approximately how far behind.
They did a sort of telephone questionaire with us about Jacob and made an appointment to come out to the house. Until that day we were so nervous but looking forward to it at the same time. Maybe, we’ll get some answers. He qualified for services through speech and special instruction because he was in fact behind, and by quite a bit actually. After a few visits from the therapists they suggested that we inquire into getting an appointment for Jacob with Dr. Melanie Cotter, a pediatric psychologist. Not too long after making the appointment we found out that Dr. Cotter specializes in Autism and Autism spectrum disorders. Well, the elephant was standing right smack in the middle of our living room at this point and I think he was standing on my husbands foot. There was alot of denial and rationalizations that took place while we were waiting for our appointment, but the least constructive thing we did was try to figure out what we had done that may have caused Jacob to be different. Were we bad parents or did we spoil him too much?
When Jacob was about 18 months old we recieved the news that would actually answer our questions and bring clarity to our family. Jacob was diagnosed with Moderate/Severe Autism with Sensory integration disorder. Now we know. We were not surprised, in fact we were relieved at this point to finally have some closure. Finally we can place our finger on something concrete and begin to focus on our next steps, there are many.
Early intervention serices are an extremely valuable asset to have when you are piecing this Autism puzzle together. Navigating these unfamiliar waters isn’t easy, not knowing what services are available and appropriate for your situation can push the limits of anyone’s stress threshold. Early interventon services can provide valuable information and resources to connect you with other agencies or organizations. As important as that is, the emotional face to face in my home support that I have recieved has been the greatest part of early intervention for me. I am the mother of an Autistic child and an emotional being. The therapists are real people and as a practicing nurse, I know the importance of having a good bedside manner.
Some days are just better than others for Jacob, there is no rhyme or reason for it really, but you have to adapt and compensate. I have found that the people working with our family are very good at that. Information sharing between us, as my husband and I are very much a part of Jacob’s therapy team is really the most helpful way to adapt our approaches and utilize what works and reaches Jacob.
Things change often, it is wonderful to have support through Early intervention around us to help us see that it’s really goingto be ok, change is good and we are not alone.
The Provencher Family
Hannah Grace Keyton, our eighth child, was born on May 7, 2006 with Down’s Syndrome. After the initial shock and fears, we welcomed our new baby girl and began learning all we could about her health and mental disabilities. We were told about the Early Intervention program through the state of Alabama by our physician. We delayed Hannah’s participation until she was a year old, due to the fact that she had multiple health issues, including a complete AV canal defect of the heart which required open heart surgery at the age of three months. Once her health was restored, we began speech and physical therapy through Early Intervention in earnest! What a blessing this program has been to Hannah and to our family! Hannah’s coordinator, Stephanie Wilkerson, has been so involved in every step of Hannah’s intervention plan. She has always been available to answer our questions and to give us guidance. Hannah’s therapists have worked diligently with her and we have seen much progress in her physical and speech abilities. Hannah has “graduated” from Early Intervention and this year began attending the Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities. Her first day of school was so exciting. I cried tears of joy just thinking of how far we have come in three years! Hannah has been a tremendous gift to our family – she has changed all of us for the better. Early Intervention has been a gift as well – we will always be grateful for all the unselfish, caring people we have met through the program who have done so much to help our Hannah!
The Keyton Family