Meet 4-year-old Leah. Leah, who was born June 3, 2011, likes: anything with music, water (loves taking a bath), also loves someone to sing the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” loves attention! Leah also has 3 other siblings. One being her big brother Steve (17) big sister Faith (11), and her other sister Haley (9). As a family we love the outdoors like, fishing and just going for a stroll while her sisters ride bikes. When we can we love to go to the Newport Aquarium as Leah loves fishes! Leah also loves other animals so another place we go as a family is the zoo!
Leah was born with a club foot, a birth defect where “the tissues connecting the muscles to the bone (tendons) are shorter than usual.” (Source: www.mayoclinic.org). She had two foot surgeries, but still could not walk. In 2014, Leah was diagnosed with autism, and she also was diagnosed with seizures (epilepsy) and asthma.
Just two weeks ago on March 1, Leah was given a different diagnosis from autism: Rett’s Syndrome. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke explains that Rett’s Syndrome is a rare, genetic, neuro-developmental disorder. It is “characterized by normal early growth and development followed by a slowing of development, loss of purposeful use of the hands, distinctive hand movements, slowed brain and head growth, problems with walking, seizures, and intellectual disability.”
Unlike autism where Leah might make gains in walking and in speech development, with Rett’s Syndrome, she faces a loss in those abilities over time.
We as a family are trying to raise funds for a service dog to help assist Leah and to warn us when she is about to have a seizure. Leah’s dog would also be able pick things up for her adaptive stroller. A service dog would enhance her life in so many ways! A service dog would also help keep her calm at times when she has her melt downs or becomes very upset.
(Source for Rett’s Syndrome: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/rett/detail_rett.htm#3277_1)