Alyssa lives with her parents and ten-year-old brother. She has a
diagnosis of Autism. When she was a toddler, her mother felt that
Alyssa “looked right through me”. Eventually she was able to show
affection to her mother, but wanted nothing to do with anyone
else. Today it is quite a different story. At the age of 8,
Alyssa had become a very sociable little girl. Her mother credits
Alyssa’s early intervention, pre-school, and kindergarten
programs for helping her to gradually learn to perform tasks,
interact with others, and participate in group activities. She
has also benefited greatly from full inclusion in regular
elementary school classes, where she has developed valuable
relationships with typical children of her age.
Alyssa, who has a diagnosis of Autism, first appeared in the
Harbor Regional Center video, Alyssa at Age 8. We return to
revisit Alyssa at age 14. She has developed a big interest in
‘all things Disney.’ Alyssa and her mother, Jean, tell us that as
she entered adolescence, Alyssa experienced some difficulties
while attending middle school. Her parents worked with their
school district to develop a new plan, for Alyssa to attend a
non-public special school. She looks forward to becoming
increasingly independent as she grows older.
Arturo, or “Artie” to his friends and family, lives with his
parents. He has a diagnosis of Autism.
He is quite independent in most daily living skills, such as
making purchases at the store, using the telephone, cooking
simple meals, and helping with household chores. He is also a
regular customer at restaurants and at a video store near his
home. He takes public buses to go to work, recreational
activities, doctor and dentist appointments, independently.
Blair lives with her parents, and her big sister. She has
multiple diagnoses of Cerebral Palsy, Spastic Quadriplegia with
athetoid movements and upper body hypotonia, and a Seizure
Disorder. She is quite mobile, with the help of adaptive
equipment such as a walker, standing table, molded chair for
working on table tasks, and a new power wheelchair which she
Christopher lives with his parents and three brothers. He has a
diagnosis of Rasmussen’s Encephalitis. This is a progressive
neurological disorder which, in Chris’ case, is characterized by
intractable seizures, atrophy of the left hemisphere of his
brain, partial paralysis of the right side of his body, and
progressive cognitive impairment. In other words, Chris has
developmental disabilities, which include Intellectual
Disability, Seizure Disorder, and psychomotor impairments.
Kelly lives with her parents, sister, and brother. She has a
diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy, Spastic Diplegic type, which affects
both of her legs. Kelly has achieved a long-time goal to be able
to walk independently. To achieve this she has had three major
surgeries on her legs and has made much effort over the years, in
physical therapy and a home exercise program. In past years, she
has used various types of adaptive equipment, including crutches,
leg braces, and a wheelchair when she has needed to travel longer
distances. At this time she needs only orthotic lifts in her
Kelly, who has Cerebral Palsy, starred in the Harbor Regional
Center video, Kelly at Age 13. We return to find Kelly
successfully attending Chapman College, living in the dorm, and
enjoying college life with supports that the college provides for
students with disabilities.
Noah lives with his mom, dad, and big sister. He has a diagnosis
of Down Syndrome. His parents received this diagnosis through
amniocentesis before Noah was born.
Although his muscle tone is weaker than average, his height and
weight are around the 5th percentile, and he has a mild gastric
reflux, he is otherwise a strong, healthy and happy little boy.
At eighteen months he can crawl, pull up, stand, cruise, and
crawl up the stairs.
Noah, who has Down Syndrome, first starred in the Harbor Regional
Center video, Noah at 18 months. In this video we return to
visit with Noah and his family several years later. We see Noah
at school, where he is fully included in a typical second grade
classroom and receives individualized special education services
(such as a classroom aide and resource specialist who visit him
in the classroom, and therapists who pull him aside for speech,
physical therapy, and adaptive PE).