Julie's pregnancy was difficult; she was hospitalized and on bed rest. Nathan came a month early; he weighed just 3.5 pounds at birth, and spent a month in the newborn intensive care unit. From the start, Julie and her husband, Robert, had a difficult time getting Nathan to eat. As he grew older he was reluctant to take solid foods and became severely underweight. Even after seeing specialists they didn’t come away with a clear understanding of their son’s problem.
Finally, Julie brought him to Southwest's Children’s Developmental Center, which specializes in team evaluations. Distraught parents can be overwhelmed when different specialists present confusing or conflicting advice. Here, a developmental pediatrician, a disabilities specialist, a speech-language therapist, an occupational therapist and a dietician worked with Nathan and his family to complete one report and recommend one treatment plan.
Today Nathan is a smiley, outgoing three-year-old who loves playing with his older sisters, Caley and Reese. He is small for his age, so he has a ways to go. But he is eating and, with the exception of ongoing speech therapy, he is developmentally on track. Nathan plays with his sisters all the time and they love reading books to him every night at bedtime.
Julie credits the Center's team approach for Nathan’s success. She says that when she came to the Center she felt like a weight was lifted and she didn’t have to worry anymore. Julie says it was very hard for her when she didn’t know what to do. She wants other parents to know that they shouldn't blame themselves. What is important is seeking out help when they sense something is wrong with their child.
Photos by Jeff Noble