This handsome little guy is Mateo. He is 3 ½ years old, and full of life! He’s had a long road to travel in those 3 ½ years, but as you can see from these photos, Mateo is a happy, busy little kid now. He loves to play, and he has a great imagination. Two of his favorite things are Paw Patrol, and The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!
Mateo was born almost 16 weeks early. Like many preemie infants, he had a lot of medical complications to overcome at first. After coming home from the hospital, Mateo and his family received services from the local developmental center. This center provides therapy services up until a child’s 3rd birthday. As Mateo was approaching 3 years old, his therapist and his mother realized that Mateo would continue to need some help with his developmental skills, even after he “graduated” out of the developmental center. They called the Washington Elks Therapy Program for Children, to see if we could help Mateo.
Mateo’s developmental skills were progressing very well, but he still needed some help in order to continue on the right track, especially with learning to eat. Many children who are born prematurely have trouble learning to eat. Mateo had a hard time learning to chew and swallow without gagging, and he didn’t always have an appetite to eat enough calories to help his body grow. I’ve been working with Mateo and his mom for a little over a year now, and Mateo has come a long way!
I like that I get to see Mateo in his home. That way, I can help his mother problem-solve the best way to help him, right where they live, eat, and play.
Thank you to the Washington State Elks Association, for providing this important resource to kids in our community, like Mateo!