When Kayla was born, her biological parents were told she had Down Syndrome. They chose to put her up for adoption.
For Kayla’s mom, Bonnie, the opportunity to adopt Kayla was her “greatest gift” in life.
Kayla began receiving physical, occupational, speech and auditory services through Jawonio’s Early Intervention program and Health Center Services. Jawonio’s age related services for ages 0-3 provide early intervention, evaluation and treatment services through in-home based modes in individual group settings. Kayla benefited from early intervention and renowned therapeutic services, provided by a dedicated, compassionate and professional staff. Even as a child, Kayla was already a part of the Jawonio family.
At three, Kayla began The Jawonio Preschool – a free program for eligible children licensed by the NYS Department of Education and the Office of Child and Family Services – that nourishes and enriches children with diverse needs. The program helped Kayla develop cognitive, social and physical growth and promote self-esteem.
Trough her teens, Kayla attended public school and flourished at Jawonio’s Summer Education program – a 6 week summer day program providing academic and recreational programming by certified special education teachers and related-services according to each child’s IEP (Individualized Education Plan).
Bonnie recalls with fondness watching Kayla attend her high school prom and shortly after graduate from North Rockland High School.
Today Kayla is an active and engaging 22 year old. She is a community volunteer and participant at the Nyack Studio Arts program, sponsored by Jawonio. One of Jawonio’s many Day Services, the Nyack Studio Arts program enables young adults to utilize the arts to continue their education, explore the world and learn to become responsible and contributing members of society.
Kayla will also have the opportunity to be equally employed through Jawonio’s Job Development and Job Hire Services, which partner job developers with individuals and provides transitions and work readiness skills training to help them succeed.
While Kayla continues to learn and grow, Bonnie echoes the concern by many parents of children with disabilities and special needs – that community programs like Jawonio continue to receive adequate funding and support they need to serve clients like Kayla throughout the lifespan.
“I believe we are all a lot better parents, caregivers, friends and neighbors thanks to Jawonio. My family knows the results of early childhood education services, Jawonio Health Center services, including jobs for people with disabilities and helping those with mental health challenges receive the attention and funding they deserve too.”
Kayla exemplifies what it means to be #love_ABLE – let’s continue to celebrate and support her achievements.
Please join us in support of our new #love_ABLE campaign to raise $100,000 through Valentine’s Day 2014 for Jawonio’s children and adults services – including those Kayla, her mom, and our community depend on. Donate Today or Start Your Own Fundraising Page. We appreciate your support.