Two-year-old Esteban was born March 29, 2015 with Down Syndrome. Since birth, Esteban has been connected with Rainbows’ Infant/Toddler Services and is currently receiving physical therapy. He has worked with Rainbows’ therapist, Pam Chiles, since he turned 3 months old. During their bi-monthly therapy sessions, they practice different objectives and strive towards accomplishing developmental milestones. Rainbows is not only a support for Esteban, but has also greatly impacted his mother. Maria Villa-Sanabria originally struggled with her son’s diagnosis. She did not want to interact with others and wanted to deal with Esteban’s delays on her own, with no outside help or support.
“I did not know about Rainbows’ services before having Esteban, but I feel like they have improved my life,” said Maria. “Rainbows has been a big support and has been there for each step, always answering any questions we have. Getting services has helped me be more open, and now I know I am not alone,” she said.
Esteban’s mother is now engaging with other families who have children with Down Syndrome and goes out with Esteban often. While she used to feel shame when others would stare, Maria feels much differently since learning more and watching her son grow. “People may stare,” she said, “but, Esteban always smiles and waves. Others can’t help but smile back at his personality.”
Aside from his therapist Pam, Rainbows’ translator Maria Elena Hatchett also attends each of Esteban’s in-home therapy sessions. As the family translator, she has witnessed up-close the family’s transformation. “Rainbows accommodated this mother’s wishes to work at her own pace, and not let too many people into Esteban’s circle at the beginning,” said Hatchett. “Now, she is open and reading educational materials and has come a long way! She wants to give Esteban the best opportunity possible.”
Though, she was initially scared herself, Esteban’s mom wants others to realize they don’t have to fear Esteban’s differences. “People shouldn’t be afraid,” she said. “He will learn and he will be OK!” She believes he has changed their family for the better in every way and has taught them to value life. “He has this force inside of him that changes the people that know him,” she said.
Esteban is very loving. “He fills us up. Such a little person has given us a reason for happiness and a reason for living,” said Maria. As his mother, she has encountered people who feel sorry for her because Esteban has a disability; however she could not have chosen a more perfect son. “People that don’t know or understand his diagnosis pity us,” she said. “They do not know the blessing that God has given us. I am so proud of him!”