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A mother’s intuition is a powerful thing. For Faye Hunt, it has served as a guide for her and her three year-old son, Lucas, eventually leading them to Our Children’s House at Rockwall.
Lucas had a slight breathing problem at birth. As result, several tests were ordered and Lucas was diagnosed with two heart defects. Over the next couple of months, Lucas began having other health problems as well.
First, he began struggling to keep food down. Already having a daughter, Faye was well aware that babies frequently spit up, but something was different about it with Lucas. She then started to notice physical changes. Lucas’ tongue seemed big, while his jaw was disproportionately small. Finally, during a breathing study, he aspirated and his chest caved in a little bit.
After months of uncertainty about what exactly was wrong with Lucas, his pediatrician speculated that it might be Noonan’s Syndrome, a rare chromosomal disorder. A geneticist confirmed the suspicion.
Faye vividly recalls how she felt upon first hearing the diagnosis. “It was terribly hard. But I also was relieved to know that there was a reason that these things were happening. Being a parent, not knowing why these things were happening to my son was horribly difficult.”
Besides issues with breathing and swallowing, other symptoms of Noonan’s affect childhood development. Speech is delayed. Muscle dexterity is inhibited by loose connective tissue, making it difficult to do basic physical activities that normal children can do – like running and jumping. Problems learning also are common.
All Faye wanted was for Lucas to be able to do the things most other children could. Doctors advised her to have him evaluated to determine what therapeutic interventions could help him have a normal childhood. Early intervention was vital in preparing him to handle the difficulties associated with Noonan’s Syndrome that don’t present until later in life.
Faye was stunned when the at-home therapist who evaluated Lucas told her that he wouldn’t benefit from therapy. “How could they say he didn’t need therapy? My son was almost two, and he couldn’t walk and could only say a few words.”
She trusted her instincts over the evaluation and went to Baylor Our Children’s House at Rockwall (OCH Rockwall) for a second opinion.
“When I went to Baylor and they used different tests, they saw that there was a need and that therapy could help Lucas,” Faye says. “I felt relieved as a parent that my intuition was correct.”
She immediately felt comfortable with the staff at OCH Rockwall and their attentiveness to her desire for Lucas to be just like any other child his age. A plan to address his individual needs was formed, involving speech, physical and occupational therapy.
The progress Lucas has made is everything Faye and her husband hoped for. “He was the first one in his class to count to twenty. And I know that might not sound like a big deal, but it’s amazing to me.”
He started speaking in complete sentences. He knows his ABCs, can recognize his name when it is written down, can jump up and down, dance with his sister and ride a tricycle. In addition, Lucas is able to enjoy his new favorite activity.
“His favorite thing in the world is a slide,” explains Faye. “He loves the slide, and without therapy, he wouldn’t be able to climb up the steps and get his feet situated to go down it.”
Having a child who can play and interact with other children is something most parents take for granted. But to the parents of a child with developmental problems like Faye, it’s the simple things that mean the most.
“Lucas goes to Mother’s Day Out, and the fact that someone can look at him and look at his class and not see that there is a difference between him and the rest, that’s what I needed.”
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