Your support directly impacts children and families in our area who are living with disabilities and developmental delays.

Thank you for helping UCP fulfill its mission for children like Henderson, and so many others!

Your support directly impacts children and families in our area who are living with disabilities and developmental delays. image

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Thank you for helping UCP fulfill its mission for children like Henderson, and so many others!

"Like many paths in life, this is a story that surprised us – but has been filled with joy, gratitude, teamwork and partnerships with resources like the Children’s Program at UCP of Northwest Missouri."

Here is a letter we want to share from Brooke Lehman, UCP Children's Program parent:

"It’s often a mother’s intuition that begins a new journey … and that’s absolutely how the journey with our daughter, Henderson, unfolded.

My name is Brooke Lehman, and I’d like to take a moment to share a special story with you. It’s about how as we were falling hopelessly in love with our baby girl, we also noticed things early on that kept us up at night.

Like many paths in life, this is a story that surprised us – but has been filled with joy, gratitude, teamwork and partnerships with resources like the Children’s Program at UCP of Northwest Missouri.

Meet Henderson.
Henderson Jean Lehman was born August 31, 2019 at 5:51 am. With a head full of red hair and weighing in at a measly 6 pounds 10 ounces she was the smallest thing to ever steal our heart.

The months following Henderson’s birth were filled with more love, anxiety, and coffee than I had ever previously known. As with most new moms, the new sense of worry I had was persistent. Are her pupils two different sizes? Why does she choke when she’s eating? Why does she scream for two hours if she isn’t asleep by 8 pm? Why does she seem suddenly frozen when we put her in the bath? Family, friends, doctors, and what seemed like everyone around me would look at her and say “she’s smiling, gaining weight, and happy. You just have the new mom worries.”

Alarm Bells
It wasn’t until Henderson’s first seizure like episode on June 27, 2020 that an alarm bell truly rang. After a summer of questions and appointments, Henderson started to fall behind in milestones. At 12 months Henderson was army crawling, not yet pulling up or cruising along furniture. It was at this point that we were referred for Physical Therapy and were graced with Ms. Marsha’s help.

Marsha was and is a blessing to our family. She has been wonderful working with Henderson. Not only does she follow Henderson’s lead when she may not be feeling as strong as normal. Marsha has listened to our concerns and has always been willing to provide solutions and suggestions when needed.

The Diagnosis
At 19 months Henderson received the diagnosis of Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood. AHC is a rare neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by repeated episodes of weakness or paralysis that may affect one or both sides of the body. This being a diagnosis that Marsha had not come across before, she was very supportive and willing to further her knowledge in an effort to provide the best care to Henderson.

Beginning the UCP Children’s Program
Upon turning 2, Henderson was blessed with the opportunity to attend the UCP children’s program. At this time, we added Occupational Therapy, as well as, Speech therapy. Ms. Alyssa and Ms. Minnie, along with Ms. Marsha, have been a wonderful coalition of therapists to have working with Henderson alongside her preschool room teachers.

New Milestones, New Connections.
Before sending her to the program we worried endlessly. Will the program stress her out too much? Will she be able to interact with her peers? Will they be able to catch her episodes? Looking back at these concerns I feel silly. UCP has more than exceeded our expectations when it comes to helping Henderson build skills and participate in the classroom. They are always quick to contact me with any concerns and are super flexible with her need to miss or leave early.

Through the accommodations, therapies, and class participation Henderson has been better able to participate in social situations. She has grown to love her teachers and therapists and she instantly lights up when she gets to see them.

With So Much Gratitude – and A Future Full of Hope.
Without the UCP Children’s program I am not sure where we would be. Not only did it help build a community of support and love for Henderson, but it helped ease my anxieties about Henderson going to school. This program has been such a blessing and we have seen so much growth from Henderson.

Your support would provide a pathway of hope and service to the many children with disabilities and their families who depend on UCP to have the pediatric therapist and integrated pre-school to meet their child’s needs. Please complete your donation today, so that we can all look ahead to the bright futures of so many wonderful children in our own community. Thank you."