When Andrea and Jon’s daughter Alaina was born, she was diagnosed with Trisomy 21*. “I had no knowledge,” said Andrea. The family moved to Wichita in July 2009 when Alaina was 4 months old and connected with Rainbows’ Infant/Toddler Services right away. “To young mothers who do not know, I want to say to them that Rainbows helped me start the mothering process,” she said. “They gave me a concrete foundation.”
Alaina received occupational, physical and speech therapies from Rainbows for the next 18 months. “I will always remember how much help they were able to offer me each time they visited,” said Andrea. “They listened and they really cared about me and my child. I was so thankful for them!”
When Alaina aged out of Infant/Toddler Services, she went to the Early Childhood Development Center then public school in the fall of 2012 and received OT, PT and Speech therapies.
After a few years in Overland Park, the family moved back to Wichita when Alaina was 11. In January 2020, Alaina was diagnosed with Addison’s, an autoimmune disease. “Alaina had struggled in public school, and this was the opportunity we needed to start homeschooling,” said Andrea. “I get to see her enjoy learning in her own environment. She is excelling.”
At the same time, Lynne Snodgrass became Alaina’s Targeted Case Manager at Rainbows. “Lynne is rocking it,” said Andrea. “I love her. She wants to talk and listen to me about my daughter. She cares.”
“At each of my check-in conversations with the family, I am moved and inspired by Alaina’s progress and am honored to be part of her success story,” said Lynne.
Alaina is an avid reader, does very well with math, can navigate virtual meetings on the computer, and is learning social skills and building relationships with peers. She is also enjoying being a big sister with more and more meaningful interactions with her sibling.
The family enjoys being outside, going to parks, and Alaina especially loves buddy-biking with her dad. Church is very important to them. Through St. Joseph’s they have friends and are developing a community. “We are blessed with amazing care and a loving community,” said Andrea.
Alaina’s mother is proud of who her daughter is and who she is becoming. “I want people to know how beautiful Alaina is,” said Andrea. “She’s a pretty independent kid.”
*Also known as Down syndrome, Trisomy 21 is a genetic condition caused by an extra chromosome. Most babies inherit 23 chromosomes from each parent, for a total of 46 chromosomes. Babies with Down syndrome, however, end up with three chromosomes at position 21, instead of the usual pair.