Meet Anthony: 2022 Family Advocacy Day Champion
Anthony is participating in Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Day from June 12-14. Through this event, Anthony and his family will discuss his health journey, Children’s Specialized Hospital’s role in providing him with necessary health care services, and why the public and our elected officials must invest in the future of patients like Anthony.
At 18 months, Anthony had around 10 words in his vocabulary, but others just weren’t coming. His mother, Yaqeulin, noticed things weren’t developing like they should be. When Yaquelin reached out to Anthony’s pediatrician, there weren’t a ton of answers, so she did some additional research.
“After that, we reached out to Children's Specialized Hospital to have Anthony evaluated and met neurologist Dr. Malik,” says Yaquelin. “That was also the day my world completely turned around.”
Anthony was diagnosed with autism and soon started speech and occupational therapy at Children’s Specialized Hospital. He excelled in his occupational therapy by reaching all his goals, however, he still struggles with language skills.
“The diagnosis made it real and put a mirror up to my face that I had been trying to avoid,” says Yaqeulin. “But I was not alone. Right away Dr. Malik provided me with references for support groups and guided me through the initial steps. She showed she cared and wanted to help make this easier for me to process.”
Speech therapy has provided Anthony with tactics to communicate and better express what he needs and wants. They’ve also provided Yaquelin with tools and lessons to incorporate at home.
Yaquelin also credits Medicaid for the essential care Anthony needs. “As a special needs parent, I want to provide my son with all the available tools,” says Yaquelin. “Medicaid has paved a way for us, while relieving us from the financial burden that could arise from this new lifestyle. I can only pray for it to continue this way. Life may have thrown us a curveball, but our game is just getting started.”
Anthony is now four years old and doing well. He is thriving in many areas of development and like a typical four-year-old he enjoys reading, jumping and eating.