Like any attentive new mom, Jennifer paid close attention to her baby’s milestones. His first smile. His first laugh. His introduction to solid foods.
But when it came to certain milestones, her firstborn son, Davien, seemed a bit delayed. He didn’t roll over until he was 11 months old, and he wasn’t crawling or walking by his first birthday. Jennifer mentioned her concerns to her pediatrician, who said that Davien’s development was nothing out of the ordinary.
“She told me not to worry,” said Jennifer. “She said all children develop on their own timeline.”
But when Davien wasn’t talking by age 2, Jennifer knew in her gut that something was wrong. She sought out a second opinion, but she felt her concerns were again dismissed. This time, Jennifer persisted until the pediatrician referred Davien for speech therapy at Children’s Hospital Colorado.
At his first appointment, the speech therapist immediately recognized that Davien needed some additional testing. She recommended a physical therapy evaluation, as well as a neurology consultation at Children’s Colorado. That led to an MRI and brain scan for Davien. The tests all came back normal, but Davien’s rehabilitation doctor at Children’s Colorado thought they could be missing something. She recommended genetic testing.
Davien’s parents were shocked by the results. Their son had an extra 15th chromosome, a condition so rare, there were fewer than 50 cases ever reported statewide.
“It was so emotional to get those results,” recalled Jennifer. “It was good to finally have an answer, yet it was devastating to think about what this could mean for Davien’s future.”
This chromosomal abnormality is associated with a wide range of potential developmental issues, including impaired motor skills and learning disabilities, so early intervention is critical. For Davien, that meant undergoing weekly speech, occupational and physical therapy at Children’s Colorado at Briargate, an outpatient facility in the family’s hometown of Colorado Springs.
“He’s had the same therapists since he was 2 years old,” said Jennifer. “They have always been there for us, and I can’t thank them enough.”
Davien still wasn’t talking when he first began treatment, so his therapists initially taught him sign language while continuing to work on his speech skills. As months went by, and Davien still wasn’t speaking, Jennifer started to wonder whether her son would ever be verbal.
Then, about a year after starting speech therapy, Davien said his first words. Of all Davien’s milestones, this was the most momentous one to date. It meant that Jennifer could finally communicate with her son.
Now 7 years old, Davien’s speech and development have continued to progress. He is now attending first grade with children his own age.
Jennifer says she still pays attention to Davien’s milestones.
“It’s the little things that mean the most,” said Jennifer. “The other day, I watched him get on the swings all by himself– something he couldn’t do before. Those moments might not seem like a big deal, but they are very meaningful to me.”
Davien continues speech, vision and occupational therapy at Children’s Colorado at Briargate. He’s also seen by specialists at Children’s Colorado on the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora.
“I’m very excited for the new children’s hospital to be built in Colorado Springs, so that we can have better access to his doctors closer to where we live,” said Jennifer.
Jennifer says that her son is living proof of the tremendous benefits of having access to the best pediatric experts.
“It’s amazing to see how far he’s come,” she said. “I have Children’s Colorado to thank for that.”