When you first meet Allison and David Crawford, one thing stands out above all else. The LOVE that they have for each other and for their children, three-year old Abram and seven month old Elaine.
It’s true they were shocked and afraid of what the future may hold when a test during the pregnancy of their second child confirmed a diagnosis of Down Syndrome. However, to Allison and David that initial fear quickly turned to joy when they learned they were expecting a girl. They fondly remember looking forward to buying dresses, dolls, hair bows and all things pink as they prepared for the arrival of their sweet baby girl, Elaine.
One of the first steps they took prior to Elaine’s arrival was contacting United Cerebral Palsy’s Hand In Hand Early Intervention Program.
According to Allison, “When we came home from the hospital, I wasn’t quite sure when to start getting help because at first – and even now – it felt like we were bringing home a typical baby. The Hand In Hand Early Intervention team provides the expertise you need when you need it. They help you feel not so lost and work on taking just one day at a time.”
Twice each month, therapists visit their home to provide Occupational and Physical Therapies. Working with Allison and David on different goals and milestones,the therapists provide insight into feeding and gross motor activities that help Elaine grow and develop. She’s a happy baby, who, along with her parents, works so hard during the hour long sessions.
David speaks highly of the Early Intervention team members, “The one-on-one sessions with the therapists in our home are invaluable. They’ve really helped educate us as parents. And that helps us communicate Elaine’s needs better to other family members and childcare providers.”
The Crawfords believe that the foundation provided by Hand In Hand’s Early Intervention program will help their daughter live a life filled with independence and inclusion.
The family developed a particularly special bond with Rohaun Green, Elaine’s Occupational Therapist. Rohaun shares, “It’s absolutely a ministry for me. I’m truly blessed to meet so many great families and become a part of their journey.”
UCP of Greater Birmingham’s Hand In Hand Early Intervention Program is honored to be a part of the journey for approximately 750 families who have a child with a disability or a developmental delay. If you or someone you know would like more information about our Early Intervention Program, please call 205-944-3939.
October is Down Syndrome Awareness month, and Allison used this as an opportunity to raise awareness through a social media campaign showing many creative examples of how children and adults with Down Syndrome and other disabilities are More Alike than Different. Visit the UCP Facebook page to read more.