Jaiden’s Story

Jaiden was born weighing just 4 lbs., 14 oz. with a hole in his heart. Soon after his birth, he was diagnosed with CHARGE syndrome, a genetic condition that involves a wide range of medical and physical difficulties. In addition to the hole in Jaiden’s heart, he was born missing two ribs, had nasal stenosis, required a feeding tube and underwent multiple surgeries.

“I was so scared,” said Jaiden’s mother, LaVada. “Jaiden is my first child and I had so much information coming at me all at once. The thought that my baby could have a life-threatening condition absolutely terrified me.”

LaVada stayed strong for Jaiden and after a month and a half in the hospital, he was ready to come home.

When Jaiden started to crawl, LaVada asked his in-home occupational therapist, Amy about child care options, as she thought it would be helpful for his growth and development to have more interaction with his peers. Amy immediately suggested Penfield, so LaVada enrolled him in the Special Care Nursery.

Jaiden progressed so quickly in the Special Care Nursery, that in just 6 months, he was able to transfer into one of the Early Head Start classrooms at Penfield.

“We are grateful to the therapists, teachers, and service coordinators who have taken Jaiden under their wings,” said LaVada. Jaiden receives all three types of therapies offered by Penfield: occupational, physical and speech. Because of these services, Jaiden has transformed from a non-verbal toddler into a talkative 2-year-old who loves to run around with his friends.”

These days, Jaiden is one of the busiest kids in his room. He enjoys counting, singing the ABC’s and participating in art projects. LaVada credits Penfield for Jaiden’s increased independence, social skills and fine and gross motor skill development.

In fact, she enjoyed services Jaiden received so much that she decided to take a job as a teacher in one of Penfield’s child care classrooms.

“Penfield is a place that became home, where we celebrate our differences, share in our similarities and teach love for everybody,” says LaVada. “We are so happy here.”

83 children received occupational, physical and speech therapy in our outpatient therapy program.

92% of children made developmental improvements in their motor skills.

88.65% made improvements in their cognitive skills.

The Milwaukee County Birth-to-Three Early Intervention program at Penfield served 855 children.