The adventure started immediately and not as expected. Lucia had to be resuscitated when she was born. In the beginning, the outlook was grim. She spent two months in the hospital after birth. She grew stronger and upon going home, the family thought that everything seemed okay. At approximately a year old, however, a visit to a neurologist revealed that Lucia would have “a wide array of special needs.” Veronica states, “we realized that having three kids would be hard, and that we’d need support. This, however, revealed a lifetime of needed supports.”
Lucia’s birth trauma resulted in her having cerebral palsy. Veronica and Michael knew that this included some physical delays, but they weren’t sure how, or even if her cognitive abilities would be impacted. They were very happy that the trained eye of the therapists were catching things that they could not see. Physical therapy started very early. Lucia received speech, occupational and feeding therapies through Early Intervention services. When it came time to choose a preschool, the often-difficult decision came easily when the family learned that many of Lucia’s therapists were employed by Racker and would be available to advise her teachers and staff in Racker’s classrooms. As an added bonus, because Racker provides child care services for children without disabilities that are integrated and provided within the special education preschool, Oscar and Joaquin could attend school with Lucia.
From seasonal parades, to performances, and special events, Lucia, Oscar, and Joaquin can all participate together. They’ve made friends and are all a big part of their classroom communities. Veronica continues, “Racker’s Mission talks about inclusion and belonging, and it’s wonderful to see it carried out. I value that so much. It starts with the teachers, they always set such a good example. Our kids’ success in school is about a lot more than straight A’s.”