The article below is submitted by Dawn and Amelia Woodward, two moms sharing the story of their daughter attending The Childhood League Center , a Proud Partner of Family Pride Network.
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"We Were Never Treated Any Differently"
- Dawn and Amelia Woodward
Babies were everywhere and we wanted one. My wife and I found a donor and fertility specialist whom we loved and got lucky on try number two. We were pregnant!
And then it happened, our first baby came, a girl we named Georgia – our sweet, baby peach. We were over the moon! We had so many visitors who commented on her beauty and sweet nature. So many people loved her and she was only hours old.
Our perfect girl grew and met every milestone. She crawled, walked and talked. At every appointment, we were told she's right on target, meeting her milestones and landing squarely in the middle of the percentiles for both height and weight. We walked away, relieved and happy to have our typical little girl who was saying “Mama” and “Up”, and who smiled and cooed, but who also had stopped sleeping and needed tight squeezes and rough rocking for even the tiniest of naps. Our Georgia also had stopped talking. She was regressing and we didn't know how, or why, or what we had done wrong.
We contacted our pediatrician and expressed our concerns. We went in and she agreed that something had changed in her typical progression, but she didn't know why. After that, it was a flurry of testing, appointments and therapy for Georgia. She was tested twice for autism and when asked if we’d consent to a third, we said no. Georgia was eventually diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder and an ever-changing anxiety disorder, so we were referred to Help Me Grow, and then to The Childhood League Center.
We were anxious about school and being a two-mom household. How would we be received? And how would Georgia be treated? From the moment we walked in the doors of The Childhood League Center, we weren’t treated any differently. We were both addressed as mom and felt included all five years that Georgia attended their inclusion program, where she was immersed in a classroom of typically behaving and developing peers. Our experiences over those years as well as the relationships and friendships that both we and she made, helped her blossom.
By the time she graduated from preschool, she no longer needed an Individual Education Plan (IEP). She had met and, in some cases, exceeded every single goal that The Center, her therapist and we had for her! Because of her successes at The Childhood League Center, she is now entering third grade and has been identified, since kindergarten, as gifted in reading. Georgia is strong, confident, compassionate and daring. The Childhood League Center gave her those skills to move forward.
We are raising a little girl who will be an engaged citizen of this world and, because of the influences of the staff and families at The Childhood League Center, we are confident that she will make a difference in our world.
For 72 years, The Childhood League Center has been a leader in early childhood education. The Center serves nearly 500 children each year who are under age 6 and who are at risk or have developmental delays. Their philosophy centers around inclusion and celebrating the strengths of every child as well as the important role of family in each child’s success. We welcome and celebrate the diversity and experiences of all families at The Childhood League Center.
To learn more about The Childhood League Center, visit www.childhoodleague.org or visit them at the Family Pride Network table at the Stonewall Columbus Pride Festival this weekend!