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Young family adapts, one step at a time.

Meet the Cope Family

North Huntington, Pa.

Before they welcomed baby Violet into the world in 2016, Kristina and Josh Cope never expected they would need to learn sign language, but it’s just one of the many things they’ve discovered on their path as parents of a child with special needs.

“Violet started on physical therapy and occupational therapy when she was about 3 months old,” mom Kristina says of her daughter, who is now 14 months old. “The services we’ve received are great and her therapists have become a big part of our family.”

“The therapists really push us … in a good way,” adds dad Josh. “They’re always pushing us to help her do more, showing us exercises for crawling and moving from laying to sitting.”

At 10 months old, Violet was diagnosed with hearing loss and was fitted for a bone-anchored hearing aid (BAHA), which she received with help from medical assistance that helps with therapy and treatments not covered by the family’s health insurance. “We have a hearing therapist now,” Kristina says, “and that’s one of the reasons we signed up for sign language classes.”

“From an expectation standpoint, it’s helpful to have people here every week evaluating where Violet is,” Josh says. “And,” adds Kristina, “setting goals. Our son Jameson developed typically, so it’s good to have guidance about developmental delays.”

“Violet’s diagnosis was so emotional,” Kristina recalls of learning about Violet’s Down syndrome. “You don’t expect to have a child with special needs. But all these services, all these great people, they make it feel normal. Our therapists coach us every step of the way; I don’t know what we do without them.”

“I want Violet to have everything, to be able to do everything,” Kristina says. “I worry about her future, but I hope that the services she has now will enable her to one day go to college, get a job and maybe have fewer health issues.”

For now, the Cope family is taking it one busy step at a time. Josh works for a startup, Kristina is a human resources executive between jobs, and active Jameson is starting youth soccer. “Our focus now, so early in her life, is helping her grow,” Josh says as Violet rolls around on the floor. “These services allow us to live a more normal life.”

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

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