With an abundance of family support, Wyatt can't help but succeed at therapy. Wyatt’s parents Susan and David found out that he had Down syndrome during her pregnancy in 2002. After hearing the news, Susan immediately met with families who have children with Down syndrome and attended therapies with them to gain information and resources. It was then that she found out about Heartspring. Moving from a much larger city on the east coast, Susan and David were pleasantly surprised to find such a wonderful resource for children with disabilities in Wichita.
Soon after his birth Wyatt began speech therapy with Vicki Smith followed by physical therapy with Cheryl Jabara not long after his first birthday. His focus in physical therapy is increasing his gross motor skills allowing him to participate in age appropriate activities with his peers. Jumping, climbing stairs and pedaling an adapted tricycle are all tasks he is diligently working on at therapy and at home with the help of his parents and brothers, Emery and Riley.
“The boys are fabulous with Wyatt,” said Susan. David and Susan have consistently worked with Emery and Riley, explaining Wyatt’s disability to them in a way they can understand. “They recognize that he’s different, but they also recognize that everyone has differences and Wyatt has endearing qualities,” said Susan. “To them he’s not a brother with Down syndrome, he’s their brother Wyatt.”
During the summer months or days when the boys are out of school, they will attend therapy with Wyatt and often help him with therapy tasks at home.
Jabara is also working with Wyatt to develop his ball skills for throwing, catching and kicking; activities his athletic brothers can help him practice.
Susan is currently the president of the Down Syndrome Society of Wichita (DSSW) and expressed her gratitude to the growing partnership between DSSW and Heartspring. “We’re so thankful to Heartspring for helping us grow each year,” she said. Each October the DSSW Buddy Walk takes place on the Heartspring campus raising awareness and funds for children with Down syndrome.
Wyatt continues to make gains in therapy at Heartspring and is excited for his weekly visits. “He’s thrilled to come,” said Susan. “He gets a big smile on his face and uses his signs for Vicki and Cheryl.”
Susan also appreciates the time and attention Heartspring therapists give to Wyatt to help him improve his skills. “We’ve been very pleased with Heartspring. Not only have I developed relationships for support and to learn, but they have a great attitude, are always upbeat and always passionate,” she said. “They’ve learned what motivates Wyatt and what his limits are – finding a way to work with him and meet his needs.”