My name is Sarah Johnson and my family has been touched by the LTVEC Birth to Three program in so many ways. Our daughter, Chloe was born with a rare duplication of part of her 15 Chromosome. Unfortunately, we did not move back to the Maryville area until she was 3 so she did not get to participate in this wonderful program. However, we were very lucky to get our second child, Sadie, on the waiting list and she has been a peer child there since, Sep. 09.
The staff has been such a blessing to us. Giving us advice on how to address behavioral concerns when we found out that in lots of ways the typical toddler is harder to handle sometimes than the special needs one! They have helped Sadie to learn to play better with her sister; they have helped me deal with the pressures of raising kids that could not be more different and to find things that work for both despite their differences. To see Sadie start to bloom and become such a sweet compassionate person, with this groups help, is just amazing. As anyone with toddlers knows, to see them go from that selfish, uncivilized toddler, to a sharing, caring compassionate child is simply miraculous!
It took me a while, but I believe with all my heart the kids like Chloe are made to give us all opportunities to grow and be the best people we can be. To think of news ways to teach things, to push us to really give of ourselves and see it so appreciated. To know how good that feels. That we were able to meet a need at that exact time when it is so needed.
We were not lucky enough to live in an area where there was a program like this for Chloe. Maybe if there had been, I would have had the confidence and strength I feel now a couple of years earlier. I don’t know. But I sure know that I hate the thought of any families having to go through the first years of such life-changing event of having a special needs child without such a program. And now this wonderful program is in danger of losing it’s funding. I know that times have been tough on everyone, but these kids don’t know that. And as families, we are so busy taking it one day at a time, one milestone at a time, one doctor visit at a time, that we don’t have a lot of energy left over to care about the economy. This program has been a rock to so many families, for so many years. We can’t let it fall. For all of us.
“Though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is His unfailing love” Lamentations 3:32 NIV