NEW CASTLE — The therapists at Easterseals would always use the word "when," not "if," said Tracy Lewis.
“Like, ‘When he walks.’ ‘When he talks’,” she continued. “They gave us hope and more than a list of diagnoses.”
Those are the phrases heard around Easterseals Children’s Therapy program. That’s why families, like James’, turn to Easterseals when their children need life-changing therapies and it’s exactly what happened when Ms. Lewis and Jamie Lewis received James’ diagnosis when he was one week old.
“In the hospital, they often focused on the ‘can’t’ and ‘won’t.’ Often they referred to him as a diagnosis,” Ms. Lewis said. “The whole family loved when Easterseals therapists were working with James. It was a bright spot for all of us.”
As a newborn, James who has Down syndrome, received physical, speech and occupational therapies. They worked with him before and after his heart surgery to keep him on track. Later they introduced the family to a communication application on his tablet that has helped James be more vocal with his sisters and parents. He even figured out how to use his communication device to play music on their Amazon Alexa.
“Therapy is just another activity, like dance. Don’t be fearful and don’t wait. Because of therapy, James walked on time and met his milestones. He was able to play soccer and go to toddler time with his peers,” she said. “James is healthy, thriving and vibrant. We want him to grow up and live an independent life. We don’t limit him.”
James is now 6 and continuing to master his goals with Easterseals therapies. He is learning to ride a tricycle so he can enjoy bike rides with his family. In occupational therapy, he is preparing for kindergarten by learning to write and use scissors. He is also continuing to use more spoken words with the help of speech therapy.
“James is one of our biggest blessings. However, the information on the internet can be quite grim,” she said. “We are forever grateful for the support we received from Easterseals. They truly impacted his life in a positive way so he is able to meet his full potential. We know they will be there for him in the future to support his future goals.”
Easterseals is delighted to have James as this year’s ambassador for their 8th annual “Walk With Me & 5K Fun Run Delmarva” event. The event is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 17, at Baywood Greens, 32267, Clubhouse Way, Long Neck. Funds raised through Walk With Me help Easterseals provide critically needed services to families living with disabilities in our local community. Registration for this year’s Walk With Me event is available online or by contacting Linda Forte at 253-1121 or email@example.com.