Damien and I never knew starting a family could be so difficult. We had 3 late pregnancy losses in our first 9 years of marriage and after a while we stopped trying. Then in 2007, we got the news that we were pregnant with Deanna. Damien and I had a new set of doctors that were as passionate about making this pregnancy as successful as we were. At 12 weeks, Deanna's life was being challenged already and I had to be put on bed rest at home. Damien had to assume all the work inside and outside the house. Little did we know that I would be put in the hospital at 17 weeks pregnancy and remain there until I delivered Deanna another 13 weeks later. We learned to trust and believe in the impossible even though things were completely out of our control.
Deanna was born at 30 weeks gestation and one week after she was born, the doctors revealed the results of an ultrasound which stated that she had a major brain injury that would significantly affect every aspect of her growth, development and personality. We were told to expect that she wouldn't walk, talk, have much of a personality, be very responsive, and that she would likely need a trach and G-tube because of her low tone and difficulty managing her airway with bad reflux.
We chose to stop accepting negative prognosis reports and committed ourselves to focusing on what she could do and what she loved to do. We never held anything back from her that other children did. We adapted equipment to make sure she was able to participate as much as she wanted to and pushed her to heights and makes sure she is content with life. There is no limit to what Deanna can do!
We first heard about conductive education when Deanna was 2 and took her to a 5 week program in Canada, where she excelled more than we could have ever dreamed. Damien committed himself to drive back and forth from Maryland to Canada (11 hrs each way) every weekend so he didn't miss out on time with his family or the opportunity to see, with his own eyes, the miracles that were taking place. Because he believed all things were possible for her he sent her to Pittsburgh again committing nights and weekends driving back and forth to yet another Conductive Ed program when she was 4. Once we considered the possibilities of Deanna's life with and without Conductive Education, Damien decided to submit for a transfer from his job in Baltimore, MD to Orlando, FL. We wanted to ensure that Deanna could make Conductive Education a consistent part of her life and CECO is the only school in the country that provides a full school day program... and we have no regrets. Deanna is a happier, healthier little girl because of CECO. She has been under the care of CECO for almost 2 years now. She loves it there and she loves her daddy for believing it is all POSSIBLE!
Damien and Alyse