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Parents welcome birth of three children in West Virginia | News, Sports, Jobs > Virginia

Parker, left, with Sister Sloane, continues to make progress, with Birth to Three therapists leading the way. (photo provided)

Three Wheeling families are happy to share their West Virginia Birth to Three experiences. They all have inspiring stories that they hope will encourage others to consider Birth to Three’s services.

Larry and Annie’s story

Valarie and Larry felt blessed to have twins, Larry and Annie. They spent their pregnancy months reading tons of parenting books and materials, but nothing could have prepared them for the new reality they were facing.

“We quickly became overwhelmed trying to cope with life with newborn twins,” Valarie said. “We had to feed twice as often, change endless diapers and wake up twice as often in the middle of the night. To make matters worse, Annie had severe colic and cried non-stop for the first year of her life.”

Her life changed even more when the twins turned 5 months and her pediatrician, noting that her milestones matched those of a 2-month-old, urged her to call Birth to Three for an evaluation. Over the past two and a half years, the twins have benefited from everything that Birth to Three offered.

From day one, the family received great support and encouragement. A developmental specialist helped them manage colic, leave the home, adjust to day care, implement positive reinforcement, and improve sleep. The speech therapist recommended Larry a hearing test, which resulted in tubes in his ears. They learned that the speech delay was a

Consequence of not hearing properly.

A physical therapist was there when Larry first climbed a slide in the park. She encouraged the family as he navigated the first steps and climbed steps. An occupational therapist was there for Annie’s first taste of food. She also helped them find solutions to Annie’s colic.

“We’ve practiced the skills these providers taught us, and my kids have thrived,” Valarie said. “My children’s tardiness cannot be compared to some other children’s. Giving birth at the age of three has led my children to success and made me a better mother. When I speak to new parents who are

Concerned about your child’s development, I immediately suggest Birth to Three.”

Annie and Larry were doing well when they reached their third birthday. They are now in kindergarten and doing well.

“Overall, I think the parents are more affected than the children,” Valarie said. “I can’t imagine dealing with my kids’ delays without Birth to Three, but I can’t imagine motherhood without it either. The specialists and therapists helped me to become a better mother.”

She said her twins are now 5 and have a 2-year-old brother. She still uses the solutions and tactics she learned through Birth to Three.

Owen’s story

Amanda and Matthew noticed that their son Owen, who was born five weeks premature, had delays in speaking, handling eating utensils, or sitting in a chair. Owen also made minimal eye contact and had a short attention span.

“When I voiced my concerns to other first-time mothers, they referred me to Birth to Three,” Amanda said.

Owen thrived within the first month of Birth to Three’s intervention. Almost immediately, occupational therapy got him using paraphernalia, sitting in his chair, making eye contact and being

aware of his surroundings.

“We’re still working on his speech delay,” she said. “He goes through phases. One week he says a few words, the next he doesn’t use them.”

According to Amanda, therapists usually visit Owen at daycare, but home visits are more comfortable for her and her husband. Birth to Three therapists work at home or in an environment where the child is most comfortable.

“Our coordinator was a godsend,” she said. “Therapists put us at ease and let us know that Owen is in transition and doing great. That’s exactly what a mother needs to hear.”

Amanda said parents who participate in the program shouldn’t be afraid to switch therapists.

“It has nothing to do with the therapist as a person, just the connection they have with your child,” she said. “We ended up going to a couple of occupational and speech therapists and decided we didn’t need a developmental therapist. Everything was handled very professionally.”

She said the switch wasn’t a personality issue, just what worked best for Owen and her daily schedules.

Parker’s story

Parker was two days old when the county foster care board entrusted him to the care of Stefan and Joelle, who later adopted him.

The child was born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), a condition caused by exposure to drugs in the womb. The diagnosis prompted the foster home specialists to suggest that Stefan and Joelle contact Birth to Three. He was barely a month old when he was first examined.

Parker receives physical and developmental therapy. While he’s accomplished every developmental milestone, he’s been delayed in reaching those along the way. He is currently working on jumping, a skill he finds difficult due to reduced muscle tone, and categorizing objects by shape and color, socialization and potty training.

“Parker is still receiving services,” Joelle said. “However, the impact on parents is profound. We were first time parents trying to navigate the care system, a pandemic and caring for a newborn with NAS. We had no idea what we were doing, and having Birth to Three in our home taught us more than any parenting book could ever do.

“We are extremely grateful to the therapists who take care of him because they also take care of mom and dad. I think all first-time parents should use Birth to Three,” Joelle said, “because they can learn so much more than a pediatrician, a book, or their parents could ever help them. The key to any child’s success is early intervention. Attachment, eating, sleeping, comforting, and their environment, including light, sound, music, and laughter are critical components. You should consult a professional to identify developmental stages.”

She said birth to three specialists take care of the whole family. no transfers are required,

and the service is free.

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