Meet Adrian and Maria Isabella: 2022 Family Advocacy Day Champions
Adrian and Maria Isabella are participating in Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Day from June 12-14. Through this event, Adrian and Maria Isabella and their family will discuss their health journey, Seattle Children’s role in providing them with necessary health care services, and why the public and our elected officials must invest in the future of patients like Adrian and Maria Isabella.
Adrian and Maria Isabella were both diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder. Adrian also has ADHD. The family’s pediatrician referred them to Seattle Children’s Hospital where both kids were evaluated at the Pearl Clinic for ADHD and other learning disorders.
“At the start we did not have any information about learning disorders and anxiety disorders,” says Maria, Adrian and Maria Isabella’s mother. “The stigma in our culture is very high, and we had no idea where to find the help. But seeing my children talking to professionals so openly about their fears was a relief. For the first time in a long time, they went from frightened to reassured.”
Both kids attended therapy and their parents went to parent-specific classes. The classes provided a better understanding of what Adrian and Maria Isabella were experiencing—such as when they are anxious or when their emotions are super strong.
“We learned vital information to get the best outcome possible in different situations,” says Maria. “The classes truly empowered us and gave us tools.”
Adrian is now 13 years old and coping with his anxiety and ADHD symptoms. The COVID-19 pandemic tested him because, at the start of the pandemic, he was anxious about contracting COVID-19, but he put into practice what he learned during therapy, and he handled his panic attacks well.
Last summer he was also diagnosed with social communication disorder, and the family is waiting to enroll him in a group therapy session where he will work on communication skills.
With Maria Isabella, who also suffers from anxiety, her parents were able to recognize these signs earlier, thanks to the classes they took at Seattle Children’s Hospital. She is 10 years old and back in school, learning to cope with her anxiety and how to handle new fears, situations, failure, and uncertainty.
“She is putting into practice what she learned during her therapy sessions,” says Maria. “As a family, we have been attending a PATTERN group—parents and kids’ class—to learn how to handle strong emotions.”
Today, both kids are doing well and enjoying family, friends, school and fun activities.