Posted in 2007
Although new clients are finding their way to FOCUS on a regular basis, many, such as 12-year old Samantha (Sami) McLaughlin, have been working with FOCUS most of their lives.
Sami began working with FOCUS when she was 12 months old. Her doctor suggested an infant learning prgram for her because she was unable to sit up by herself as a result of cerebral palsy.
“It was an awesome experience because they even incorporated my other daughter who was 3 years old at the time, so she didn’t feel left out,” said Darline McLaughlin, Sami’s mother. “Making her a part of the therapy made her feel less separated from her sister. It made her more comfortable with her and gave her a greater understanding of what Sami was dealing with.”
McLaughlin said that FOCUS’s early work with her daughter went a long way toward helping her pick up skills she might not have otherwise learned. It also proved that the doctors who predicted she would never walk were wrong.
“Now she can walk, run, jump, throw balls and can do things that typical children can do. She is no longer wheelchair bound,” McLaughlin said. “It helped her physically and emotionally. Sami didn’t want to be the kid in the wheelchair. She wanted to be the kid running and playing with other kids.”
With time, Sami progressed to take advantage of FOCUS’s in-home respite care services.
“It’s great. I have nothing bad to say because these people are trained in CPR and first aid and always come prepared,” McLaughlin said. “I feel a lot more confident leaving with them there.”
Sami had three years of therapy with FOCUS prior to entering the Anchorage School District’s special education program. FOCUS helped to coordinate the transition for the family.
with permission —Mary M. Rall from the Alaska Star
Posted on June 2009
Karen Timmins says that accessing services including respite care and mini-grants through FOCUS have made a huge difference in the quality of their family life and their ability to work with Madison. They have anger management and behavioral support services. Because of Madison´s behaviors she needs one on one supervision attained by skilled and experienced in-home providers she has chosen. The limited free time this offers the parents is necessary to maintain the continuity of their family life while also giving Madison the supervision she requires. Thank you FOCUS for your support and services.