Best friends Ruby and Zoe, both of whom have Down syndrome, were born one day apart and met for the first time when they were 8 weeks old at a Meetup group attended by their mothers, Shannon and Nancy. “They hit it off right away!” says Shannon, who shares a photo (at left) of the girls the day they met (daughter Ruby is on the left).
Although both girls were enrolled in Early Intervention programs for children age birth to three, their mothers took them to Children’s Therapy Center so they could receive additional therapy. That therapy continues today, and both Shannon and Nancy are adamant that it has allowed their daughters to continue to grow and thrive.
“School-based services for children with special needs are centered on academics,” Nancy explains. “They don’t address the needs in the home. That’s why CTC is so important to me. I come to therapy with my daughter. I learn things I can practice at home, and I can always ask questions and get suggestions here.” She offers a timely example: Zoe, who has recently been making improvements in her gross motor skills, successfully climbed a rock wall at school but was unable to come back down without assistance. “I’ve got to ask Joli (her therapist) what to do about that!” Nancy says.
Ruby and Zoe, both now 7 and in the first grade, are enrolled in General Education classes at school. Their moms advocated heavily for that. “It’s easier and cheaper for schools to put children with special needs in a self-contained classroom,” Nancy explains. “I understand that, but I don’t want that for Zoe. I want her to have the full experience of school. You can’t build relationships [with other children] when you only see them during music and art classes.”
Although they’ve grown up together, the girls are both quite different. Zoe is very girly and loves dolls, while Ruby’s favorite activity is digging in the dirt. Not surprisingly, during a joint therapy session at CTC’s Tacoma center, each girl chose a different superhero to represent herself – Zoe picked Supergirl, while Ruby chose Ironman.
In photo: Ruby (center) with her brother Grady and Zoe