Sophia has spent much of her young life at the hospital. Originally diagnosed with “failure to thrive”, she often endured numerous seizures and by 3 years old was no longer gaining weight and had difficulty eating. To sustain Sophia’s life, doctors decided that she needed a feeding tube and determined that she has Cerebral Palsy, resulting in severe difficulties with digestion, breathing, motor skills, and speech. At this time, she was certified as quadriplegic. Throughout these challenges, Sophia’s family, especially her grandmother, Grace, cared for Sophia in their own home.
Grace will be the first to tell you that they never let Sophia’s diagnosis define her and did not want Sophia to be a spectator in her own life, but instead an active participant. They sought to challenge her and include her in all family activities, making accommodations for her to accompany her family members wherever they went. As Sophia grew older, Grace included Sophia in her own care, using hand-over-hand techniques to help Sophia prepare her own feeding tube formula, brush her teeth, and brush her hair. Every activity included music, silly songs, and joy - all centered around helping Sophia understand that this was not something being done to her, but rather that she was in control of her own routine.
After several personal hardships and a round of hospital visits for Sophia, Grace was faced with the difficult realization that she could no longer provide Sophia with the full-time care required for her increasingly complex condition. Thanks to a referral from a caring home-care nurse, Grace and Sophia came to visit the Hattie Larlham Center for Children with Disabilities to see if it would be a good fit for their family’s needs. After seeing the love, joy, and extraordinary care for each resident at the Center, Grace knew that this was the best place for Sophia.
“Hattie Larlham Center for Children with Disabilities is the kindest, most blessed place… it has been a phenomenal experience placing Sophia there.”
Grace Rice, Sophia's grandmother
Sophia has lived at the Center now for over a year, and Grace comes to visit her three times a week (when Covid-19 visitation restrictions allow). Grace loves to visit for lunch and dinner, and she could often be seen cruising the halls with Sophia in her wheelchair. Likewise, Sophia has made countless friends among the staff and her fellow residents on the unit. She has begun to gain substantial weight and is thriving in therapy and school.
Hattie Larlham continuously strives to provide a safe, loving, reliable place to turn to for families like Grace and Sophia. We pride ourselves on treating each person as if they were our own family and making sure that everyone feels right at home.