When Ka’Leina’s pediatrician recommended her family consider services through Rainbows, her mother Keljhay was skeptical. “I was stressed to think my daughter needed help beyond what I could do,” said Keljhay. “I didn’t know if I wanted people in my home. I worried I would be judged on what I wasn’t able to do for my child.”
But, what Keljhay wants others to know is her experience was quite different from what she conjured up in her mind. “Therapists get to know you and your child. They worked with me as much as they worked with Ka’Leina. Our family is so much better for this experience with Rainbows,” she said.
“Our therapist, Sandra said, ‘If I’m stressing you out, then I’m not doing my job.’” Keljhay says Sandra worked alongside her to understand what her child needed and how she could help with her development. “Sometimes Sandra would say, ‘You may not want to hear this, but….’ and I learned so much,” said Keljhay.
Sandra, a Rainbows’ Occupational Therapist with a certification in sensory integration worked with the family for about a year. “Ka’Leina is a wonderful little girl who came to Rainbows not communicating or interacting with her world,” said Sandra. “As we worked together, she learned to communicate with her family, is now potty trained and able to let people know what she wants.” Through her sensory integration work, Sandra was able to address Ka’Leina’s visual, vestibular and auditory difficulties as well as educate her parents on how and why certain things cause negative reactions.
During early intervention therapy sessions in their home Sandra helped the family adapt to Ka’Leina’s needs. They learned how to communicate with each other through non-verbal ways, like putting pictures on the refrigerator so Ka’Leina could ask for a snack without frustration.
Before getting connected to Rainbows, 2-year-old Ka’Leina was non-verbal, threw extreme tantrums and did not look anyone in the eye. Her family was stressed not knowing how to successfully communicate with her. “I would have to try to guess what she wanted, and it was frustrating for both her and I,” said Keljhay. “Sandra helped me join Ka’Leina’s world and not force her to join mine. This shift made all the difference.”
With Sandra’s help, the many, excessive meltdowns have stopped and Ka’Leina is going to attend preschool when she turns three. “With some specific changes the home is a much happier, calmer place,” said Sandra. “Once the family understood I had their best interests in mind and would help them every step of the way, they engaged with the suggestions and made significant progress.” Sandra is quick to point out she recruited other Rainbows’ early interventionist to help address all of Ka’Leina’s needs.
“I am grateful for Rainbows and the caring therapists who helped my family,” said Keljhay. “I definitely felt the love. Rainbows makes a difference. My life is easier and less stressful now.” Ka’Leina now plays with her older sisters and is much friendlier with them.
Keljhay and her husband Jontell have 3 daughters, Ka’Leina and her two older sisters ages 4 and 6.