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Matthew's story

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As told by my mom

My name is Matthew James Espinosa. I was born with a cleft palate and chromosome 21 ring disorder, a rare disorder that can cause anywhere from a slight to an extreme learning disability and/or possible mental retardation.

My mom believed that I would be OK.

When I was two months old, I had my first surgery to repair my cleft lip and palate. At three months of age, I began physical and occupational therapies at PACT. I had a total of four surgeries before my first birthday.

Mom saw me make progress and then I would have to take time off for surgery. In a way, I was taking two steps forward and five steps back. Mom worked with me at home, as well as with me in therapy.

At fourteen months I was able to pull myself into a sitting position for the first time. And then, at fifteen months, I started gliding on my stomach. My legs were unsteady when I was held to stand up so I started wearing braces on my legs and by eighteen months I was wearing AFO's all the time. I started speech therapy and learned sign language, too.

At two years old, I was discharged from occupational therapy, started signing and verbalizing more. I was even able to stand a little on my own for a short time. I was able to walk with a walker and by holding onto someone's hand when I was 26 months of age.

I am 32 months of age now (June 2003) and am walking independently and continue to make great progress in physical and speech therapies.

This picture was taken of me two weeks after I took my first step. I have come a long way from where I started. My mom works hard to keep me doing better and better. She says that the things that helped her most was keeping a journal from the day I was born and meeting lots of wonderful people who share a common goal:

To do what's best for the children they love, like me.

View a letter from my sister.





See me and my sister.

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