Tonawanda News

Local News

February 4, 2013

Wheatfield family stresses importance of special needs adoptions


Tonawanda News — “Just in the time that he’s been home, he’s getting so strong with being able to pull himself to stand,” Brandy said.

Judy O’Mara, the director of adoption at Baker Victory, said she’s seen a rise in families adopting children with special needs in recent years and attributes that to a greater understanding of a variety of illnesses and disorders, in addition to better access to medical care. Most of Andres’ therapy — physical, speech and occupational — will come through the Niagara-Wheatfield school district, though Baker Victory provides resources and services as well.

“We certainly will assist and provide support and ongoing counseling that the family needs, including medical care,” O’Mara said. “We have a theraputic preschool so if there was a child in need of that service, that comes complete with early-intervention speech assessment.”

The family’s pediatrician said that possibly with braces or a walker, and some therapy there’s a good chance Andres will be able to walk someday. Because of that, they were told not to make their home wheelchair accessible just yet, in case he winds up being able to walk. Andres prefers crawling about on the floor to his wheelchair anyway so he has better access to his toys and Millie.

For now Andres’ sisters help pull him up onto the couch to watch television, play or practice his English.

Gabriella, the youngest, is quiet, but said she enjoys having a little brother.

“It’s been great for her because she now has someone watching her and looking up to her, and it’s helping her to have a little bit more responsibility,” Brandy said.

Madelyn thinks it’s great to finally have a boy in the house.

“All my friends are like, ‘No you don’t want (a brother),’ “ she said. “Little sisters get on your nerves sometimes because they want your stuff, but little brothers don’t want your stuff because they’re boys.”

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