Arianna faced medical and developmental challenges as soon as she was born. She spent her first seven weeks of life in a neonatal intensive care unit. She has since been diagnosed with Sotos syndrome – a rare genetic disorder affecting 1 in every 14,000 people, characterized by distinctive facial features, overgrowth during childhood, as well as learning, physical, and developmental delays. Arianna’s mother, Heather, first became aware of The Infants’ Home, a nonprofit located in Australia, when she met with one of its center directors at a fundraising event. Heather expressed that she was worried that Arianna’s additional needs would prevent her from participating in the Infants’ Home’s childcare services. Among the special care Arianna required was being tube-fed in order to receive the essential nutrients she needed to maintain her health.
Now, Arianna is enrolled at The Infants’ Home and benefits from its range of early intervention and health support services – including its “Head Start on Health” program. Thanks to this program, a Health and Early Childhood Consultant worked with the Infants’ Home’s education team to manage Arianna’s schedule of tube-feedings. Arianna has since had gastrostomy surgery, and is now able to eat some pureed foods.
“When I found out that The Infants’ Home could accommodate children with special needs, I was completely overwhelmed. I cried at the idea that I could put her in day care, as I never thought I could do that. Caring for a child with special needs 24/7 can get you down. I can be a patient, and a better mother when I am with her, if I have something like part-time work in my life. Having suitable childcare makes this possible.” – Heather, Arianna’s mother
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