This is a year of big transitions for 21-year-old twins Dianna & Deanna.
The girls were preemies, both weighing just over one pound when they were born. For mom, Anishka, giving birth for the first time was scary enough. Facing the difficulties of not one, but two, children born prematurely was beyond anything she imagined.
The girls came to CDTC’s Early Steps Program from the NICU. From that day forward CDTC became the family’s medical home with Dr. Maria. “Everything goes through them,” shares Anishka, “That’s all we know.
Today, both girls still have developmental delays. Deanna is also wheelchair bound due to scoliosis and Cerebral Palsy.
The girls’ Care Team became their “family in a family.” There was comfort in going to the Center or calling for support in times of need. And that family grew when the twins’ little brother was born and later diagnosed with autism.
When the girls were babies, Anishka hovered and was overprotective. But as they grew, she didn’t want to hold them back by treating them as “too special.” She encouraged the girls to try to figure things out on their own as they grew up and explored their world.
In those early years, mom thought things would get easier as the girls got older. Instead, the challenges just changed. Lifting Deanna to and from her wheelchair is harder. And, there’s more focus on helping the girls understand personal interactions and communications in the workplace and the community as they get out more on their own.
Dianna has graduated high school and started the WOW program which helps young adults with disabilities reach their potential as adults. Today she is working full time with Broward County Schools on the janitorial staff. She recently earned her driver’s license and is learning copy writing to help write websites.
Deanna has come a long way about learning to be more vocal about her needs. She now advocates for herself at home, at the doctor’s office, and in school. She just completed a 4-week program with Alliance Community & Employment Services to help her prepare and interview for a job.
Through it all family has been their greatest source of strength and perseverance – the bonds of mother and children, sisters and brothers, and their team at CDTC.
“The girls are always so cheerful,” comments Care Coordinator Ange Jean. “They are so kind to each other and make the best of everything. You can feel the love when you are around them.”
Nominated by Ange Jean, Care Coordinator, ECHO Program
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.
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