Our family’s story begins many years ago.
I was a young mother and had my first child at 18 – Colin’s sister, Kaylea. She was a perfectly healthy baby girl, but as a mother, I knew something was wrong.
I knew from day one that Kaylea was different – right from the first moment they placed her in my arms. Kaylea screamed and screamed and screamed. She did not cry – she screamed. She was so sensitive to touch and even being held.
As Kaylea grew into a young girl, her sensitivities to the world and the people that loved her grew.
I would take her to our doctor and share my concerns for her and was told several times that either “I was a young mom, and nothing is wrong” or “that it was typical behavior.” Kaylea never would say she loved us, and she hated to be touched.
As the years went by and struggles grew, we finally received a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder at the age of 16.
To say this was both a relief and a heartfelt sadness cannot be properly put into words.
Every mother’s wish is for their child to be their best self.
After learning Kaylea’s diagnosis, we would finally get the resources and develop the parenting skills we needed for our family.
However, looking back on all her struggles with relationship, her troubles in school and fitting in, I can’t help but think about how things could have been better and easier – if only we knew how to parent to her strengths sooner.
Colin also has an older brother that he treasures and truly loves – Aaron.
Aaron was my easy child – my “old soul”. He had his challenges as well when he was younger. He was born two-months early and had a few minor issues as a result. Around age 6, Aaron caught right up to his other peers.
Being a mother to these two wonderful children filled my heart with so much love and joy that all I prayed for another. I feel like it is the greatest gift I was ever given to be a mother to my children.
In March 2016, I found out that I was pregnant with my third child, Colin.
I was over the moon with joy. However, the very first ultrasound had alarm bells ringing and doctors concerned.
Colin was not growing properly. Colin’s head was too small for his gestational age and his tummy was too large. This meant countless trips to doctors and countless ultrasounds. Colin would never move during an ultrasound. He never met his counts.
8-months into the pregnancy, I ended up in the hospital with Colin. Our goal was to make it to full term since Colin was tiny, and we did.
After my longest labor and several complications, Colin came into this world. He was such a blessing.
But the high did not last long. Colin had complications right away. He had trouble nursing and he was so floppy, which we would later learn was floppy baby syndrome. Our little baby could not maintain his temperature and heart rate. He ended up in the NICU and PICU for the first 19 days of his little life.
What was wrong with my little boy?
On Christmas Day of 2019, we were finally able to go home.
When January came around, the doctors’ appointments were in full swing for Colin and we knew that this was now our life, our new reality.
Sometimes, we would have as many as one or two doctors’ appointments a day with Colin.
No one had any explanations for what was happening with my son, and soon after came the heartbreaking speeches from the doctors telling us that Colin might not make it to one…two… or three.
His speech was very far behind, his walking unstable and his cognitive abilities were delayed. Colin was diagnosed with Microcephaly, Epilepsy, Autism, and three genetic conditions; VARS, EARS2, and 15q13.3 syndrome.
After many appointments, our doctor advised us to find programming for our little Colin. We knew how important early intervention was going to be for Colin, and after finding about Pacekids, it was our top choice.
Now – my sweet little boy is 3!
Colin is such a happy and bright little boy. He is a very loving child. Pacekids has impacted Colin in many ways. He has a positive place to learn and grow. He is making new friends and learning so many new skills in this loving and accepting environment.
Colin’s support from Pacekids has also taken so many outside appointments and steps off my plate as a parent. He is growing and thriving, thanks to the Pacekids’ team.
Colin started Pacekids in September 2020 as a very sheltered and shy little boy. Now, Colin runs into the school every day and does not look back. It is not because he does not love us, it is because he loves his Pacekids family and they love him right back!
Without knowing how to be a mother to a child with special needs, I would not have known how to advocate for Colin properly, how to understand that every child is unique, and deserves to learn at their pace to be their best self.
Pacekids is such an important program to families like ours and children like Colin.
I know Kaylea would have blossomed in a program like Pacekids as a child. Her story would have been completely different if I had the parenting tools that I have now.
Pacekids has provided me with the parenting skills I need to ensure my family and children can thrive.
Pacekids’ Champion for Children is a monthly giving program that creates ongoing financial sustainability and enables Pacekids to continue to provide the best programs and services possible.
Together, we ensure children like Colin can continue to thrive.
Please consider becoming a Champion for Children today by clicking here and joining a growing community committed to ensuring all children can thrive!
Pacekids Programs is a charitable organization that strives to empower children with special needs and their families through excellence in therapy and education. Operating for over 25 years and funded through Program Unit Funding (PUF) from Alberta Education, & Family Support for Children with Disabilities (FSCD), Pacekids serves children with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Global Developmental Delay, Down Syndrome, Speech & Language delays, and more through a variety of programs in the Calgary area.