We wanted to take the time to share our personal experience with Rainbows.
It all started when we took our first daughter, Brynn, for her twelve month check-up. Our peditrician went through the general questions like, “Is she talking?”, “Is she eating well?”, “Is she sleeping all night?” We smiled and bragged to him about all the wonderful things our daughter could do. Then the next question was one we knew was coming, but we weren’t quite ready to hear what he was going to say next. The question came, “Is she walking, yet?” My husband and I, being first time parents, said “no.” That’s when our daughter’s pediatrician suggested physical therapy to help further her gross motor skills. Our minds started racing. OUR daughter needed to see a physical therapist because she had delayed gross motor skills? We were taken back and sat quietly as the doctor left the room. He returned with a brochure for a play therapy place in town.
The brochure looked great. It was filled with bright, colorful pictures of a therapy room. It lookedpromising for our daughter who could not yet walk and could only “army” crawl. I called the number on the brochure that afternoon. We wanted to be proactive and get her the help she needed right away. I made an appointment and we saw them the following week. We went in for an evaluation. I walked in very nervous and not knowing what to expect. I wasn’t greeted by anyone and sat next to a lady who was waiting for her grandson to finish his play session. Finally, we got our turn to be evaluated. We were taken to a basement and Brynn was placed on a gym mat. She started rolling around on the mat and crying out of frustration, because she kept sliding on the mat. The physical therapist barely spoke to me, she ended our session by saying that Brynn qualified for services and that they could start the following week. She suggested that we meet two times a week. Their hours were not doable for our schedules, being that my husband and I are both teachers. We were going to have to take off work, early, twice a week to take her to therapy. We would do anything for our daughter, but knew this was not something we could do.
I started talking to my mom about our situation and she suggested Rainbows. I said, Rainbows? My mom said, “yes”, a lady at work, her daughter’s child struggled to crawl and they contacted Rainbows for physical therapy. She told me that her daughter’s daughter was crawling within weeks after Rainbows came out to help. She told me that she thought Rainbows would even come to your home. I thought, why not? We knew she needed the help and if Rainbows was willing to come to our home to work with our daughter that would be more helpful and doable with our busy schedules. I spoke with my husband about it and we both had a preconceived notion that Rainbows was for those with severe disabilities. We looked at your Website and found the number we needed to contact the right person. I decided to call the next day. I was quickly greeted with a very kind lady on the phone who transferred me to Laura Eggenberger. Laura listened patiently to my concerns about our daughter and then scheduled a date to have Brynn evaluated.
A couple weeks later a team, including Laura, came to evaluate Brynn. We didn’t know what to expect and our nerves were running high. They all walked into our home, introduced themselves, took their shoes off and started to play with Brynn. They explained the process of the evaluation very thoroughly and got to work. They got down on the floor to start interacting with Brynn.
She was shy at first, but Cecelia Schmidt, Physical Therapist, and Jennifer Broadfoot, Early Childhood Special Education Teacher, got Brynn to crack a smile relatively fast. Brynn loved when Cecelia would put something on her head and would pretend to sneeze, making the object fall off her head. Seeing the way they interacted with our daughter made me feel great as a parent. They were doing everything they could to form a relationship with Brynn. The evaluation didn’t even seem like an assessment. It appeared that they were just playing, but little did I know this was part of their evaluation. Their interaction with Brynn was playful, fun, and easy going. Our daughter loved them. After they were done evaluating Brynn, they talked to my husband and me about whether or not she would or would not qualify for services. They explained in detail why she qualified for physical therapy and why she didn’t for educational services. The team was professional, easy to talk to and answered any questions we had. We then set up a plan of action and goals that we wanted our daughter to attain while under their direction. We felt included in our daughter’s goals and plan. We were told they would contact us later with an official plan. The team came back to us with an action plan and it was put into place immediately. Laura contacted me and told me who would be working with Brynn. Cecelia was assigned as our daughter’s physical therapist.
Cecelia is a gift from God. She would walk into our home every time with a huge smile on her face. Our daughter, Brynn, would stand at the door and wait for her arrival. Cecelia would greet Brynn with a smile and a wave, sometimes followed by something silly that would make Brynn laugh. We welcomed her into our home with open arms. She would immediately get down on the floor and start interacting with Brynn.
While working with Brynn she would touch base with my husband and me about her progress, weaknesses and things we wanted to see her doing. She would model to us how to help our daughter. After she would model it to us, she gave us the opportunity to try it on our daughter too. If we did it correctly she would compliment us, but if we were doing it incorrectly she would kindly redirect us to do it correctly. My husband and I work in the educational field, but, this was not our expertise. So, this guidance was greatly needed and appreciated so we could continue to work with our daughter even when Cecelia was not there.
Cecelia even provided our daughter with shoes that helped support her ankles, a weighted ball to help develop her muscles and phone books to help with balance and control. She showed us so many things that we could use around the house to help encourage our daughter to want to stand and walk. Every time she came she taught us a new strategy, modeled it, implemented it and had us practice it with her. We were all a part of Brynn’s walking team! She took the time to educate us and left us with things to work on.
Our goal was for Brynn to walk by her 18 month birthday. Two days before her birthday, Brynn began walking with confidence. Brynn was able to achieve her goals because of the guidance of Cecelia. We owe everything to Cecelia for helping our daughter walk. Our daughter loved her and we did too. The hardest part of the whole, was when Brynn graduated from services because she caught up developmentally, was saying goodbye to Cecelia, one of Brynn’s first friends.Cecelia made Brynn’s day when she came to visit. We will be forever grateful to Cecelia for being our co-pilot through this process.
What sets Rainbows apart is the way in which they help families. Professional, courteous, great communication skills, and knowledgeable are all characteristics of all Rainbows team members we had the pleasure of interacting with. We would recommend Rainbows to anyone.