When Cris Shepard was pregnant with her second child, testing revealed her unborn son would have developmental disabilities. Camden Morris was born 19 months ago with a cleft lip and palate and a chromosome disorder (he has a partial duplication of the 9th chromosome).
Besides global developmental delays, he has some muscle and feeding issues, but thankfully, does not have severe medical issues.
About a year ago, Cris and her husband Chris Morris began looking into service providers knowing that early intervention for their son was imperative to his growth and future development. Having their young son evaluated, however, was difficult, says Cris. “It was hard to read that written evaluation and I was initially hesitant to enroll him in services,” she admits.
“We started with just physical therapy because Camden was also undergoing surgeries at the time,” says Cris. His therapist makes visits to their west suburban home and twice a week they go to Aspire Children’s Services center in Hillside. Now, in addition to physical therapy, Camden receives speech, occupational, and developmental therapies. “He loves the massive ball pit at the children’s center,” says his mom. “He’ll bang on the window and smile when he sees one of his therapists walk by. Even though it’s hard work, the therapists teach him skills, even walking, in the context of play.”
Aspire Children’s Services is a leading program of comprehensive specialized services for children who have developmental delays and disabilities, and their families. Our pediatric therapists partner with parents to set meaningful goals for their child and family. Then we provide the specialized services that help each child and family reach their unique potential. Aspire Children’s Services recently expanded its services to children up to age eight, after 30 years of serving children from birth to age three.
Cris says what is so helpful to her and her family is that even though Camden is working with several different therapists at Aspire, the coordination of those services is seamless. “I appreciate getting all the services through one location and I love the way the therapists all work together and talk about Camden’s progress and what he needs to work on. It makes me feel like they all have his best interests at heart. I don’t feel alone or like I have to reinvent the wheel to address his multiple needs. They all know exactly where he’s at and they encourage us and listen to us and genuinely care about my son and our family.”
In just one year, Camden’s progress has been nothing short of amazing, she says. Cris Shepard says she is very pleased Camden will be able to participate and will continue to benefit from services as long as he needs them.