Spotlight: Jayden and Leah

When Manda and Owen welcomed twins Jayden and Leah into the world, the family couldn’t have been happier. But, it was a rough 10 days as the girls had to stay in the NICU. After the 10 days were up and the girls were home, Manda and Own started to notice certain milestones not being met.

Jayden wouldn’t smile, laugh or coo but she could stare. Leah wasn’t making noises or making eye contact. So, at 18 months old, Manda took the girls to the doctor who assessed them to be functioning at 0-6 months old. From there, they started ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis), OT (Occupational Therapy) and PT (Physical Therapy). But it wasn’t until the girls needed speech therapy that they found UCP-OC.

When the girls turned 3, the diagnosis of autism became clearer. Jayden started talking at 3 and is now able to communicate with her family and friends. Today, Jayden is on the higher functioning side of the spectrum. Leah said her first words at 4 and is semi-verbal today. She can mimic words and sentences now which is a great accomplishment!

Their pediatrician referred them to UCP-OC 5 years ago and since coming to UCP-OC the girls have graduated PT and Jayden has finished OT. Now, at 7 years old, the girls remain in speech therapy and they both are making great progress. For Manda and Owen, it’s the small victories that mean so much to them. As Manda explains, “We love going to UCP-OC. The therapists have always been so helpful and understanding. I don’t believe the girls could have reached the level they are at without having been referred to UCP-OC. It was definitely a blessing.”

While the girls have separate strengths and weaknesses, they do a great job balancing each other out. Jayden may have many extreme fears, but she has her sister Leah who, as her mom describes her, is “almost fearless.” At the end of the day, the girls love playing dolls and reading and their parents love to see them be able to communicate.

“To see our girls be able to talk, eat new foods, write words, and climb things is so amazing! We wanted to believe these things would happen and we are so lucky to be able to watch them as they do,” says Manda.

Congratulations to all of the impressive achievements Jayden and Leah. We love to see you living a Life Without Limits!

To support children like Jayden and Leah, click here to donate.

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