Saturday, September 26, 2015

Early intervention changes everything for children with disabilities, health challenges

Tytan Beckford's family had to make the horrific decision
to ampute part of Tytan's feet when he was born without
fibula in his legs.
  Gotta admit, it was kind of fun being back in reporter mode this summer as my partner Paul and I worked up a four-page newspaper supplement for Children's Health Foundation of Vancouver Island.

     The stories of families of children with disabilities can be hard to listen to, because nobody likes having to think of children experiencing the pain, surgeries, life limitations, and whirl of therapies that the kids we wrote about have had to face. Our own granddaughter was born right in the middle of the period when we were doing this work, and we couldn't help but imagine her in a similar situation with each and every heartbreaking interview.

Twins Nolan and Asher Trousdell on their way into Grade 1
this fall. Read the family blog at
 Yet the hope and determination of the families are what will stay with me. They get knocked down, but they get up again. They endure unbelievable amounts of stress, sadness, and wholesale disruption of their lives and dreams, yet they stand alongside their children and together, they make it work.

    I have new admiration for the dedicated people who work in the field of children's health and development, and new appreciation for the worth of these services - not only for the children whose lives are literally being turned around through early intervention, but for society as a whole. There's something magical about the ability of a brain of a young child to adapt to limitations and challenges, but making use of that magic is all about the right interventions in those early years from birth to age five.

     Early intervention not only changes the course of a child's life, it dramatically improves the chances that children can reach their potential in school, work, and life overall. Early intervention ensures we have active, healthy, and engaged citizens ready to build an even stronger future of British Columbia.

    The supplement is in today's Times Colonist, and you can read it here on the foundation's web site.

Hannah Harris, whose family spent a total of 115 nights
at Jeneece Place after Hannah and her twin sister Hailey
were born premature and with a long list of health
challenges. Read more about the Courtenay twins
on their mom Bonnie's blog at


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