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Early intervention paves way for son’s success.

Meet the Bergstein Family

Macungie, Pa.

Caleb Bergstein began walking at 14 months, only a little later than most children. But compared to his cousins in the same age range, he wasn’t talking very much. His parents, Stacey and Noah, pushed for developmental testing. The results prompted medical experts to recommend early intervention services, but shortly after, Caleb became very sick and was hospitalized.

Stacey remembers that after that stay, “everything changed. He was a different child.”

Once an adventurous eater, Caleb would now only drink Pedialyte from a baby bottle and had to be fitted for a feeding tube to enable him to gain weight.

More medical problems followed and Caleb began seeing six therapists every week, including at Easter Seals Eastern PA, a very busy schedule. “It was insanity, but it was worth it,” says Stacey. Caleb began to make big strides: for instance, his word count quickly went from one – “ ‘car,’ his favorite thing,” – to 20.

Without the various services he receives, Stacey says, “Caleb would have nothing.” The applied behavioral analysis services he receives through Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services are integral to his progress. “I can’t even imagine how I would have paid for the feeding tube and all of the supplies,” she says.

To encourage independence, Stacey now sits in the waiting room while Caleb, now age three, receives outpatient therapy. “He has to learn to function without me,” she says. He rides the school bus to a preschool classroom run by Lehigh County’s Intermediate Unit, receiving services and learning social skills. “When I saw that his classmates greeted him and he actually said ‘hi’ back, relief swept through my body,” she remembers. “I saw him playing like any other kid, helping others, holding hands with other kids.”

Stacey, who left the workforce when Caleb was born, recently completed a community college phlebotomy course and is planning to begin a career in health care. She has high hopes for Caleb and his 13-year-old sister, Eve. “I want them to be happy, healthy and successful,” Stacey says. “I want them to surpass anything I’ve done.”

Thank your legislators for making Human Services funding a priority in the 2017-18 Pennsylvania budget.

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