Octavio

Octavio

Eleven-year-old Octavio just won his debate competition. It was his team’s first time competing. They argued on topics from bullying to immigration. Their success is sweeter when you realize the members of his team are hearing impaired.

Like all parents, Miriam and Octavio were excited to welcome their son into the world. But joy turned to concern, nervousness and worry when little Octavio was born premature and required care in the NICU at Broward Health Coral Springs. It heightened when doctors transferred the family to Broward Health Medical Center’s NICU to provide the more intensive care and services he needed.

The worry was emotionally draining. For three months they traveled back and forth to be with their son, exhausting themselves physically. But caring for Octavio remained the most important thing in their lives. 

The physicians and nurses in the NICU educated the family on the to Early Steps and the Pediatric Center at CDTC when he was discharged. They immediately made their appointment for an evaluation.

It was Early Steps that would help with developmental issues resulting from his slow growth. They have built a deep relationship with their Primary Care Physicians at CDTC as they worked through Octavio’s diagnosis and treatment.

At age three, Octavio joined Extraordinary Children, Healthy Outcomes (ECHO). The Center’s Medical Home program helps the family navigate the specialists, procedures and care Octavio needs. It’s also an additional support system that helps the family thrive.

The rarity of his genetic condition has made a diagnosis difficult. Until recently, his condition was believed to be Meier-Gorlin Syndrome, a rare genetic condition affecting growth and often hearing. They are currently looking at other possibilities. Regardless, Octavio’s hearing has suffered.  

In 2015, physicians agreed Octavio was finally ready to receive implants to restore his hearing. His CDTC Care Coordinator Rosa has been amazed at his progress ever since. “He’s caught up with his peers. He’s very outgoing and has lots of friends. He talks a lot,” she shares.

His mom Miriam, is grateful for the support they have found at CDTC the past eleven years. She stopped working to be home for her son when he needs her and is devoted to his care. Her advice to other families caring for a child with special needs, “give your child a chance to develop and grow without making him feel less or spoiling them.”

About our Hero of the Month

Each month, CDTC staff nominate one of our children as our Hero of the Month. These special boys and girls are heroes in our eyes. They show strength, perseverance, determination and a positive outlook while facing great challenges.

Their stories are powerful and heartwarming and reflect the impact CDTC and you, our community, has on their daily lives.

A trip to our Clinic is more than just a doctor’s visit to a child with special healthcare needs.

But, insurance doesn’t cover everything. That’s why your gift is so important.

Sarah is Looking Toward the Future

Sarah is Looking Toward the Future

Twenty-one-year-old Sarah is about to successfully complete the CDTC TAFT Program and age out of our care. She is stepping into adulthood as a confident, prepared young woman.

Sarah and her family moved to Florida when she was in her teens. She began seeing Dr. Lafrance and joined the ECHO program more than eight years ago to help treat her asthma and obesity, chronic issues she’s dealt with her entire life.

Today, her Taft Care Coordinator Erica has been working closely with Sarah as she prepares to transition to adult care. The process has been a true test for the pair as they faced a new health challenge.

A New Challenge While Transitioning

For Sarah and her family, the diagnosis of Keratoconus “came out of nowhere.” The progressive eye disease often hits teens and young adults, coming on quickly. The condition changes the shape of the eye and, if untreated, can result in a loss of vision.

It’s all affected Sarah deeply. She sees a retina specialist, ophthalmologist, corneal specialist and has been to the Bascom Palmer Institute. She underwent a corneal transplant to save her vision. While her vision is better now, she is still self conscious about how her eye looks.

That’s not the only challenge Erica has helped Sarah address. The diagnosis has been a financial burden on her family too.
Sarah is no longer eligible to receive the children’s Medicaid that once supported her care. As a working adult, she doesn’t qualify for Medicaid. Her job as a Communications Specialist at Broward Health Medical Center provides insurance to help.

However, the many copays make it a struggle. There are so many appointments, specialists and medications to pay for. Budgeting has become an important part of Sarah’s learning process.

“Always get a second opinion, stick to your medication regimen and go to a good specialist,” is her best advice to young adults facing a difficult diagnosis.

Saying Goodbye to CDTC’s Care

This June, she will officially graduate from the TAFT Program. Looking back, Sarah appreciates the help and community resources Dr. Lafrance provided to her and her family.

“The people at CDTC really care about you and go above and beyond to satisfy your needs,” Sarah shares.
Erica isn’t worried. She’s watched Sarah mature and blossom over the years. Sarah is 100% ready and has shown she is very responsible when it comes to managing her health and her healthcare thanks to a little guidance from CDTC.

*pictured above: Sarah & her Care Coordinator Erica

About our Hero of the Month

Each month, CDTC staff nominate one of our children as our Hero of the Month. These special boys and girls are heroes in our eyes. They show strength, perseverance, determination and a positive outlook while facing great challenges.

Their stories are powerful and heartwarming and reflect the impact CDTC and you, our community, has on their daily lives.

A trip to our Clinic is more than just a doctor’s visit to a child with special healthcare needs.

But, insurance doesn’t cover everything. That’s why your gift is so important.

Our Hero Vivienne

Our Hero Vivienne

South Florida was supposed to be a bright new start for Vivienne’s family.

They moved here in sunny July to be closer to the her grandparents. Dad was starting a new job. Mom Sarah was enjoying spending time with her two-year-old.

Everything seemed normal, Vivienne just had a few random fevers and some crying. She seemed to be napping more. That’s just being a kid. Right?

Then, in September, Vivienne’s health changed. A seemingly sore foot caused her to start limping. Then using furniture to walk.
Her teacher at school was concerned. The little girl wasn’t just missing mommy when she cried. She didn’t come running when mommy came back.

With no Primary Care Physician in place and insurance just kicking in, the family headed to Urgent Care. The doctor there was worried about her weak legs and pain.

At the doctors instruction, they raced to the hospital. Mom was searching her phone franticly for possibilities. She some how know what it was.

Leukemia.

It was so advanced, Vivienne remained in the hospital that night and started chemo the next day. The family would remain there for three months.

Vivienne stopped talking. She wasn’t walking at all. Doctors were concerned.

Mom’s intuition told her she wanted more than just a regular pediatrician. They need someone who would help guide them.
Leaving the hospital, they were referred to Early Steps at CDTC. Vivienne received Physical, Speech and Occupational Therapy, which was crucial to Vivienne’s healing and functioning.

Dr. Robinson became their Primary Care Physician and, at age 3, Vivienne aged out of Early Steps and joined the ECHO program to continue support and services.

Caring for a child with special healthcare needs can be lonely. It’s hard to discuss your problems when they make others uncomfortable.

They found a partner in Alison, their ECHO Coordinator. “Allison is invaluable,” shares Sarah, “She made the whole situation more manageable during a very difficult time.”

Together they address concerns, make plans for Vivienne’s care, and celebrate her milestones. Mom can ask her for advice on anything for Vivienne and they talk through it until mom and dad can make a choice with confidence.

Two years later, Vivienne is in remission. She talks a mile a minute. She’s not just walking again, she’s running. The four-year-old is in preschool too.

The family is still discovering resources thanks to their CDTC Care Team. Those other organizations are great, but the Center is a necessity.

“This is the place to get things you need for your child,” shares Sarah.  

About our Hero of the Month

Each month, CDTC staff nominate one of our children as our Hero of the Month. These special boys and girls are heroes in our eyes. They show strength, perseverance, determination and a positive outlook while facing great challenges.

Their stories are powerful and heartwarming and reflect the impact CDTC and you, our community, has on their daily lives.

A trip to our Clinic is more than just a doctor’s visit to a child with special healthcare needs.

But, insurance doesn’t cover everything. That’s why your gift is so important.

Raine Makes Big Steps in Early Steps

Raine Makes Big Steps in Early Steps

First-time parents Matthew and Cathy didn‘t know what to expect during Raine’s 18-month check-up. Raine never answered to his name. He wasn’t communicating at all. He never discovered a favorite toy to play with. And, he didn’t like touching or smelling food, so he wasn’t eating.

The doctor sent them to a neurologist. The neurologist recommended Early Steps at CDTC.

Raine underwent a comprehensive evaluation by our multi-disciplinary team. Mom shares that it was a long visit but she was very appreciative in the end.

The team identified some red flags for autism. A second visit to the neurologist confirmed an autism diagnosis.

The news was shocking. Did they miss the signs? How could they help him? What would this mean for Raine?

Doctors reassured them and reminded the parents to take a breath then make a plan. From that moment on, Cathy became proactive and worked hard to stay on top of the services and care her son needed.

Working with Early Steps

The Early Steps team recommended home visits by an Infant Toddler Developmental Specialist (ITDS). This specialist would help them understand Raine’s special needs. Together, they would create an intervention strategy that would become a part of Raine’s daily routine and set goals to work towards.

Mom watches his therapists intently to learn and mirror what they do. She even buys the same toys they bring so he can keep progressing on his own.

Making Raine’s Goals a Daily Routine

Their home is popular for Cathy’s big Romanian family. She needed help remembering what to do during their daily routine. But what about the rest of the family when they visit?

So, Cathy sat down with Jennifer, her ITDS, to create “Raine’s Rules.” The laminated rule list hangs in the kitchen with a notation they are “to be followed by everyone who steps foot in the house.” The chart tells everyone at home what to do to help Raine follow directions, make choices, behave in certain situations and more.

Mom was excited for his recent annual review with Casey, their Early Steps Service Coordinator. She knew the progress Raine had been making.

Goals Met & Progress Made

The now two and a half-year-old makes eye contact. He follows one-step directions, waves bye-bye and eats chopped foods on his own. Mom can call his name across the house and he’ll answer. A few weeks ago, he even started to love going outside to play on the swing in his front yard.

Raine is making great progress thanks to Mom and Dad’s devotion as well as the support they received from CDTC and the care of their Early Steps therapists.

Raine will be aging out of the program this summer when he turns three. Cathy is grateful for all Early Steps has helped them accomplish so far. And, Matthew is at ease now. They know they have received the early interventions that Raine needs. 

About our Hero of the Month Program

Each month, CDTC staff nominate one of our children as our Hero of the Month. These special boys and girls are heroes in our eyes. They show strength, perseverance, determination and a positive outlook while facing great challenges.

Their stories are powerful and heartwarming and reflect the impact CDTC and you, our community, has on their daily lives.

Thank You to
Our Sponsor

A trip to our Clinic is more than just a doctor’s visit to a child with special healthcare needs.

But, insurance doesn’t cover everything. That’s why your gift is so important.

A Difference for Tavaris

A Difference for Tavaris

Seven-year-old Tavaris was only three when he and his mom arrived at CDTC in need of help. The Extraordinary Children, Healthy Outcomes (ECHO) program stepped in to help. The little boy with autism would require the speech, occupational, and behavior therapy to help him communicate his needs without frustration and overcome his developmental delays.

By the time he arrived in Dr. Alonso’s dental chair, Tavaris already had three of his front teeth extracted by another dentist because of tooth decay. The inability to communicate well and the pain of extraction was traumatic. For mother and child, the experience was a bad one. CDTC’s Dental Team had a new challenge to soothe his fears, make him comfortable and prevent more decay.

Time, patience and the right techniques were just what Tavaris needed. He had to sit on Mom’s lap to stay still and allow dental work to be done during his early appointments. Today, he climbs into the chair on his own while mom waits. Using mild sedation has made treating his remaining cavities and decay so much easier on everyone.

Tavaris’ high energy makes sitting still difficult. “I’m bored” is a common conversation while he’s in the chair. “Behavior is still an issue,” shares Dr. Alonso. “But, he tries so hard to be good for the team.”

Mom’s doing her part too. She’s been consistent in bringing him to appointments and keeping away sweets. The efforts are paying off, Tavaris is all smiles in the Dental Clinic and cavities are not coming in like they used to.

About our Hero of the Month

Each month, CDTC staff nominate one of our children as our Hero of the Month. These special boys and girls are heroes in our eyes. They show strength, perseverance, determination and a positive outlook while facing great challenges.

Their stories are powerful and heartwarming and reflect the impact CDTC and you, our community, has on their daily lives.

A trip to our Clinic is more than just a doctor’s visit to a child with special healthcare needs.

But, insurance doesn’t cover everything. That’s why your gift is so important.