Wyatt is a typical 4-year-old. He loves LEGOs, watching baseball and playing fetch with his dog. But, unlike most kids his age, Wyatt has a rare form of dwarfism—he has had to overcome many obstacles in his young life. For National Dwarfism Awareness Month, Speak Now for Kids chatted with Jenn, Wyatt’s mother, to learn about Wyatt and his health journey at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
It wasn’t until my son, Wyatt, was 10 weeks old that doctors discovered he has significant spinal cord stenosis. His doctors were unsure if surgery was needed to prevent further damage to his spinal cord.
A temporary solution was introduced, and Wyatt was fitted with a cervical neck brace to see if any damage to his spinal cord could be reversed. Because Wyatt was so little, the specialists had a hard time finding a cervical collar small enough to fit his tiny neck. Coincidently, Wyatt’s dad worked for a surgical equipment company that specializes in spinal implants. With the help of donations from his employer, Kevin began making his own cervical braces for Wyatt at home.
To have a place like Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA), where the specialists are all in one place, is so important. With the help of weekly physicals, occupational and speech therapists, and close observation by numerous specialists, Wyatt is now a thriving toddler!
Wyatt is ridiculously smart and has been reading for at least 6 months now. He’s all about math and science, and he’s really into all things monster trucks. He loves baseball, so we’re hoping to sign him up for t-ball in the spring after we finish weaning him off his neck brace. Wyatt has finally grown enough that he can open doors, so his favorite job is to take care of Waylon, our golden retriever, by letting him in and out the house. Our family’s biggest goal is to help Wyatt grow and have the resources he needs. CHOA has followed him so closely every step of the way and I feel like we’ve been well supported. We’re very happy with all of Wyatt’s care team and just blessed that he hasn’t had anything major happen yet.
I’ve been a nurse at CHOA for 14 years, so as soon as we realized we were going to have a child with special needs, I knew what resources to tap into. I have an advantage because I knew what questions to ask and was able to connect with the right people, but the average person doesn’t know all that. I advocate for children’s health by telling Wyatt’s story to help other families going through similar experiences.
Since his birth, our family has become active in the Little People of America (LPA), a nonprofit organization that provides support and information to people of short stature and their families. Wyatt’s dad is the current president for the Georgia Chapter. The LPA is an invaluable resource to families who don’t have any history of dwarfism and don’t know where to start when looking for information. The month of October―National Dwarfism Awareness Month―has taken on a whole new meaning for our family and we now use this time as an opportunity to spread awareness on behalf of others like our son.