From Case Management to Community
Rosemary found herself in need of extra support and medical case management for her son as he was going into fourth grade. Diagnosed with sensory processing, ADHD, dyslexia and dysgraphia, Jayden had struggled in the classroom setting for years. He is one of five kids, and Rosemary has worked tirelessly to provide him with the support he needs—inside and outside of the classroom—while also managing the whole family.
“We ended up at Any Baby Can. We thought it was just for little kids! But we were struggling as parents. Both of us working full time, coordinating five kids, and all of the extra appointments and meetings we had for Jayden,” says Rosemary, a client in Any Baby Can’s CARE program.
While many of our clients are parents of young children or pregnant for the first-time, Any Baby Can has programs to support parents of kids up to age 20. Our CARE program, which stands for Comprehensive Advocacy and Resources for Empowerment, supports families in navigating resources and connecting to community programs.
Much More Than Case Management
For caregivers of kids with special healthcare or developmental needs, maintaining their schedule can seem like a full-time job. Parents research, identify, and schedule appointments. They fill out forms and wait in waiting rooms. And even with the best pediatricians and school counselors, it can still be difficult to know where to turn, who to call, and what to ask.
“There’s not enough time in the day. I was already doing everything I could and I didn’t see a way for me to be successful,” adds Rosemary.
When she was connected with her case manager Liz Sidener, LMSW, Rosemary finally felt some relief. Liz was able to coordinate medicines and appointments, connect them to support services, and be an advocate for the family in school meetings.
But at Any Baby Can, it goes beyond medical case management. Families are connected to a community. There are family events and respite opportunities for parents. Any Baby Can clients feel surrounded by people who want their family to succeed, no matter where they are on the journey.
“Before Covid, we’d go to church every week! But we stopped going as often, and then our church moved. now we’re not as connected. The opportunity to feel like we’re part of a community has been so important for us,” says Rosemary.
Rosemary remarks that she just appreciates having someone to open to up. Opening up to the help of others has completely changed her family’s life. Our case managers help parents learn the skills they need to provide the best support for their child, while also growing their confidence in their own abilities as a parent. And we do this in all of our programs.
“Liz supports me emotionally as well as practically. She has helped me build trust and feel supported when I ask for help,” adds Rosemary.
Support for the Whole Family
Families and siblings of kids with health or developmental needs may experience feelings of sadness, jealousy or guilt. This is particularly true for young children who do not understand why their brother or sister appears to get “more attention.” At Any Baby Can, when one family member becomes a client, the whole family benefits.
Jayden was receiving support services outside of the school system, but continued to face challenges in the classroom and at home. To help strengthen the bond between him and his siblings, Rosemary enrolled them in Camp Grey Dove, a summer camp for siblings of children with health diagnoses. Camp Grey Dove was conducted in a virtual setting during the pandemic, which expanded the opportunity for more families to participate.
Jayden was experiencing anxiety and depression, like many kids during the pandemic. He would get defiant or checked out, especially when he felt singled out or different than peers. But Camp Grey Dove gave him an opportunity to feel special, and for his siblings to be able to participate in some fun.
“The kids were excited to participate in activities, and that they were participating because of Jayden. It felt special for everyone… he doesn’t like feeling different and those types of things can set him off emotionally. When we participated in the camp, it was a completely different perspective for him: I’m different but my siblings think it’s cool,” says Rosemary.
Our counselors and therapists made participating in camp easy and fun. The siblings were able to engage together and separately, and Rosemary saw a huge difference by the end of the week.
Success in Little and Big Ways
Jayden has a beautiful heart. He loves animals, being outside, and helping in the kitchen. He’s great with younger kids and loves taking care of others. And while school has felt like a roller coaster, Rosemary feels like they’re finishing out the year strong, both socially and academically.
Rosemary says she feels more prepared to take on any challenges that lie ahead. Even though she had the information and experience, it was hard to put it all together, and be a good mom to her kids. Now she feels hopeful.
“Kids get labeled just because they’re not fully supported. I’ve come to realize how important it is to just be completely honest with where we’re at. If I didn’t have these supports in place, if I didn’t ask for and accept help, I wouldn’t be able to keep my job,” Rosemary reflects.
No family should go through their journey with childhood illness alone.
Campers benefit from meeting other kids who understand and “taking a break” from family stress.
Kids benefit when parents and caregivers are engaged, supportive and active participants in their lives.