A huge thank you to Olivia’s Mother - Tara for sharing Olivia’s story.
“Olivia is a beautiful, sassy, intelligent 4 (almost 5) year old. She is a petite little thing weighing heavy at 32 pounds and has a projected future adult height of 5’0. Her personality when you get to know her definitely make up for her small stature. She absolutely enjoys her toys, specifically her PJ masks & her toy cars, she has figured out how to work technology like her mom’s cellphone and laptop better than her Grandma could ever dream of. She has a heart of gold and treats every child the same, she WILL play with you if you give her the opportunity, she has empathy and can notice when another child or even an adult is upset and will do her best to cheer you up, she likes to think she is the funniest person in the room and will try her hardest to prove that to you. All in all Olivia is a sweet, calm natured child with a hint of sass that will bring anyone around her to enjoy her company.
Olivia was just 10 months old when I discovered she wasn’t meeting her milestones, she wasn’t crawling yet, she wasn’t rolling, she wasn’t eating solids nor was she babbling, and she was just starting to finally be able to sit up on her own and support her head. I found a pediatrician who had recommended me to a dietitian at Seton Hospital, unfortunately the staff there felt they weren’t able to provide her with what she needed, so they had referred us over to the Child Developmental Clinic through the Children’s Hospital. There with the help of physiotherapists, speech therapists, dietitians, and occupational therapists we began to slowly see some progress, she started crawling properly, she started to work on her balance, and she even started to babble more. That slow progress turned into her finally making her first steps just after hitting 2.5 years, she could say mama & dada, she could ask for her bottle and she was even trying to make animal sounds. As we approached her 3rd birthday her physiotherapist advised me it would be a good time to begin looking for a specialized pre-school and with my hours of research I stumbled upon Pacekids, I immediately booked a tour and that was that. The second I walked in that place I was amazed, school was finished for the year but the vibe you got when going into the school was just amazing, the teachers that were still around were all so passionate about what they did, our tour guide spoke so highly of every staff member and all of the options they offer at the school. It was an even bigger bonus that a new facility would be opening up close by AND they offered transportation so I would still be able to be a working mom. They didn’t have to convince me in the slightest about coming to their facility I knew it from when I walked in that this would be the place that would be able to help transform my little girl and help her meet the goals she was destined to meet.
I don’t even know where to begin on how Pacekids Programs has impacted our family, they’ve been so amazing, and I don’t think I could tell you enough amazing things about this facility. They work with each child individually and they are not lumped all together, each child comes in with their own diagnosis and Pacekids works to be able to help them meet specific goals individually. Olivia started walking more, running more, she finally went to the park with me and actually went down the slide by herself because she learned the confidence from Pacekids. She learned to ask for things, tell me when she’s hungry, tell me when she’s sad, WHAT she’s sad about. They helped potty train her just after her 4th birthday, they gave me advice, tips & tricks for helping her meet her milestones at home outside of school. Now after nearing our second school year ending at Pacekids, I can come home from work and sit there and listen to my child tell me about her day and exactly what she did, she is able to talk to me about her friends and their names. She can tell me that she loves me and that I am her best friend. These are all things I never thought I’d be able to hear her say, and because of Pacekids I get to hear my little girl tell me these things on a daily basis, because they gave her the tools and confidence, she needed to meet these milestones.
Thank you, thank you to all the teachers, assistants, directors, receptionists, participants, donors & supporters throughout the years. You’ve created an amazing community and I am so thankful that my daughter is able to be a part of it, and you should be amazingly proud of yourself and what you’ve done for children with special needs. “
If you would like to help support Olivia for this year’s Race for Pace … Click here!