When Janelle Hite gave birth to her triplets at only 24 weeks, she knew that every moment with them counted. Sadly, one of her triplets passed away after only a day. Both twins struggled for survival, with Nathan becoming septic and having to lose his right hand. Months later, both twins were diagnosed with CP. After four and a half months, Janelle was finally able to bring her boys home.
She sought the assistance of her local UCP affiliate when the twins were nine months old. Since Owen and Nathan’s needs are complex, the family depended on UCP’s early intervention program. Led by the National Office in Washington, DC, UCP has network of nearly 80 affiliates that provide families with support, advocacy, and programs such as Early Intervention. In addition to the program allowing the boys to alternate physical and occupational therapy, their doctor is right there with them, saving the family a trip to the hospital. The family spends a lot of time there; Hite estimated that the boys have had over 600 therapy sessions in a year’s time. UCP has a great relationship with the school system, having staff visit them to make sure they are getting the services they need, while learning along with the other students.
Hite cannot say enough about the staff at their local affiliate: they know the boys by name, their individual needs, as well as their genuine warmth and care for the well-being of her boys. She says they encourage them even when times get hard and want the absolute best for them. She says although neither of the boys can walk, they can say a few words and communicate to their therapists, their family, and each other. They use augmentative
communication devices. Nathan uses a flat touch-screen (similar to an ipad). The device gives him the ability to choose symbols. He can also type out his family members names! Owen uses a mounted computer that gives him the ability to select letters and word choices with his eyes. “Technology is amazing, and it’s opened up a world of endless possibilities for our children and others!” Hite says.
The boys are inseparable with their older brother Logan. Although there are many things that the boys are still unable to do, Logan chooses to share a room with his younger siblings and spends hours playing with them, even if he is three years older. The twins are now five years old and The Hite’s recently added another member to their family. They adopted 8-year-old Karis from Ukraine. Like her siblings, Karis also has learning, speech, and physical disabilities. The family figured that they had the extra room, augmentative devices, and great therapists. Most of all, they have an abundance of love to share. “We believe everybody matters. We want all of our children to be who they are meant to become. They’re all perfect, just as they are. Whatever we do in life, they’ll be right there with us. We want them all to see the world as we do and have the same opportunities,” Hite says.
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