Two and a half year old Beckett Miller has been diagnosed with CNS Vasculitis. Beckett’s mother, Mandy, remembers what it was like when Beckett was first diagnosed. “Discovering that your child might need services can catch you off guard and be very overwhelming,” she says. This condition causes inflammation in the blood vessel walls of Beckett’s brain and/or spine which can lead to developmental challenges.
For the past 6 months, Beckett has been receiving services through Rainbows’ Infants and Toddlers program. He sees both a physical therapist and vision teacher intermittently, but works primarily with Rainbows’ Speech-Language Pathologist, Beth Watkins. Because of his condition, Beckett has experienced decreased muscle mobility and weakness. “He has some facial weakness due to his condition which also affects his speech and tongue use at times,” says Mandy. “When Miss Beth first started visiting, Beckett was unable to stick his tongue out because of limited mobility of muscles on the left side of his mouth and face.” However, Miss Beth has helped Beckett make huge strides over the course of their time together. According to his mother, “Beckett is now able to use his tongue on both sides of his mouth, chew equally, and his expressive language has exploded!”
Mandy does not just credit Beth with Beckett’s speech improvement. She believes Beth was also instrumental in helping her family discover Beckett’s correct diagnosis. “It took 9 months for Beckett to be accurately diagnosed, and I believe Miss Beth played a huge role in that by helping me to be persistent with navigating such an overwhelming process,” Mandy says. Beth was the Miller family’s constant contact, encouraging them to diligently document their son’s changes and progression so they might be able to better determine his condition. “Beth also empowered my abilities as a mother who knows Beckett better than anyone else,” Mandy states. Beth has joyfully come alongside this family, to help in any way she can. “Beckett’s family has been trying to help him live and grow and enjoy toddlerhood while figuring out a really confusing diagnosis and how to best help him with the challenges that presents,” Beth says. “To help them with that is why we all do what we do. It’s so affirming to know that we have been of some help that way.”
Today, Beckett is happy and continues to improve. “Beckett loves to make people laugh,” says his mother. (See Beckett laughing here.) He enjoys music and anything Mickey Mouse. Looking back to the beginning of their journey, the Millers are glad they found Rainbows. “Rainbows works quickly and efficiently to address any needs for services,” Mandy says. “I always knew we had a team working for Beckett’s best interest, which was a huge source of comfort in an uncertain situation. I cannot say enough positive things about our experience.”