Meet Lydia: 2022 Family Advocacy Day Champion

Lydia is participating in Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Day from June 12-14. Through this event, Lydia and her family will discuss her health journey, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s  role in providing her with necessary health care services, and why the public and our elected officials must invest in the future of patients like Lydia.

When Lydia was about 4 years old, her mother, Jennifer, first noticed challenging behaviors. Lydia would become distressed when transitioning between activities or settings and suffered from separation anxiety.

“Lydia would have more toddler-like tantrums than I would have expected for a typical 4-year-old,” says Jennifer. “I kept thinking this was just a phase or that she would grow out of these behaviors, but each year, the behavior became more concerning.”

When Lydia was 7, Jennifer’s colleague referred her to a behavioral health therapist. The therapist diagnosed Lydia with anxiety and they started going to group-based therapy services where she learned how to manager her “anxiety monster.” 

“These sessions were very helpful as Lydia was with other children her age that were dealing with similar issues,” says Jennifer. 

A diagnosis allowed Lydia’s course of care to shift dramatically. She was connected to a psychiatrist and started taking medication. A more specific care plan also helped Lydia learn skills that positively impacted her interactions with family, friends and classmates. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on Lydia. Having only lived here [Pennsylvania] for 5 months prior to the pandemic, Lydia had limited connections to new friends or teachers at her school,” says Jennifer. 

The transition to online school was a drastic change in schedule and expectations, which can be difficult for kids like Lydia who benefit from structure and clear expectations. Even with the return to school, Lydia has struggled to manage social situations in addition to her anxiety, ADHD and OCD.

Lydia is almost 11 years old and doing well. She has adjusted to her new city and recognizes how to manage her emotions with new coping skills, regular practice and medication.

“Our family is truly grateful for CHOP behavioral health services,” says Jennifer. “They have truly changed her young life.”

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