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Being a young parent is always extremely hard, but you never really know how hard until you live it. Having my baby girl at twenty one years of age has been one of the biggest obstacles in my life and the most rewarding at the same time. She has opened my eyes and allowed me to truly live my life, in a way she brought me back to life. Holding this beautiful piece of life in my hands, I never imagined that a year later we would be dealing with neurologists, oncologists and countless doctors’ appointments.

"Developmentally Delayed"- that’s the title they put on it; my sweet baby girl, who I felt was the smartest in the world, sitting on my lap being told she would be delayed in terms of her development. Hearing these words instantly breaks your heart, makes everything you feel you've worked so hard for suddenly mean nothing. The doctors said Emma's brain was too big and there was liquid in the brain, indicating a possible delay in speech. And then, autism came into play. The doctors mentioned autism, social delays and my mind just shut down. 
 
The doctor suggested putting her in a day care setting and that’s when I stumbled across ACDS, the greatest thing to ever happen to Emma, and my family.
 
When I first met Mary Lynn I knew in my heart this is a woman who is here for the children, not just to add a name to a list. She is the most heartwarming person I have come across and has the best intentions for the children. I was assured if Emma needed any services she would get them, if she needed Early Intervention it would be available to her.

ACDS Personal Stories

I decided ACDS would be the place for Emma to spend time with other children, and the classrooms were just so engaging and well kept.

Well, to keep the story short, Emma has done amazingly well! I am happy to say with the help of her amazing teacher Ms. Sherry and the best staff, Emma is talking so much I actually have a hard time getting her to stop! She socializes with all the children, participates, dances and even sings along to songs! It has been the best couple of months thanks to ACDS. I cannot thank the program enough for what it has done. No one ever pointed fingers or said your daughter has this and that, she was just welcome. 
 
I cannot thank ACDS enough for what they have done for my family; for my little piece of life.

If you have a personal story about ACDS that you would like to share, please email

Laurie Schaefer
lschaefer@acds.org

With your support, we can continue to assist children and adults with Down syndrome, Autism and other developmental disabilities and their families.
Your contribution can make a difference to a child and family, just like those families in the stories above.

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