Jack came into the world at just 28 weeks gestation, and after a long 3 month stay in the neonatal intensive care unit, he came home with an NG feeding tube. Jack’s parents, Zephyr and Brian, felt helpless as Jack vomited often, choked on the feeding tube, and had to be held down to put it back in place through his nose. “There were days I didn’t think I could do it. I couldn’t even sleep because I was afraid he would start choking.” Even after the decision was made to surgically place a G-tube directly into his stomach, he continued to vomit and wasn’t making progress toward getting nutrition orally.
After traveling to Seattle for feeding support for the first year of Jack’s life, they found the Children’s Developmental Services program at HopeSparks and started seeing Sonya, a Speech Language Pathologist, in their home for feeding therapy. Having home-based services was a huge relief for Zephyr; Jack was able to relax and feel comfortable with Sonya right away while they tackled his sensory and feeding needs in the familiarity of his own home. “I just felt so at ease the second I met Sonya, she’s so empathetic and really looked at Jack as an individual. She took her time with him and made their activities fun and playful.” Occupational therapy and home educator services were added to his plan to support his development and to prepare him to enter preschool in the future.
Through a sensory-based approach with his early intervention team, Jack has gained new feeding skills, as well as new play and behavior skills. Focusing on Jack’s sensory needs has made it easier for him to participate in activities with his family that were a struggle in the past. During occupational therapy sessions, Jack got to practice touching sand so that he could enjoy a family vacation to the beach. Zephyr has learned new activities and games that support Jack’s behavior and social-emotional needs. Through home-based support, Jack is meeting more milestones and getting stronger every day. “I felt like I had a whole parenting team helping me through this. I don’t know what I would’ve done without them, they helped me find my strengths.”