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50th Birthday Historical Family Story

Megan’s Story 2002-2006

A successful Wichita State University student, Megan Bailey is 20 years old and pursuing a career in Speech Language Pathology. Megan knows a lot about speech and other developmental therapies because she’s experienced most of them.

Born with poor hearing, astigmatism, Cerebral Palsy with diplegia, and low birth weight, Megan benefitted from therapies since she was very young. Those therapies started at Rainbows in 2002 when she attended Ritchie Family Center for child care. Her mother, Sherrill remembers Amy Foster, Physical Therapist; Gina Hall, Occupational Therapist; and Myra Niederee, Speech Language Pathologist being pivotal in her daughter’s early years. “Megan would not be where she is today without Rainbows,” said Sherrill. “These ladies poured into helping her to walk, talk and get connected to resources for hearing aids and glasses plus growing her confidence.”

Megan remembers attending Rainbows in her early years and walking across the stage for her pre-kindergarten graduation. Sherrill says it was a special moment for the family and the Rainbows’ staff who knew how determined Megan was to walk. Megan says, “My favorite part of Rainbows was Amy.”

Amy remembers working with Megan on the gait trainer to help her make that walk across the graduation stage and has kept in touch with the Bailey family through the years. “I’m so proud of Megan and how she’s continued to make progress through the years,” said Amy. “She’s an inspiration to me and many others.”

Myra Niederee also remembers Megan’s determination in speech and feeding therapy as well as her motivation to move around the classroom like her peers. “It was hard work! I’m so happy to hear of Megan’s successes and honored to be a small part of her learning experience,” said Myra. “I’m proud of what she’s accomplished so far and know that she will bring her own personal experience into a career in Speech Language Pathology.”

Megan received Infant/Toddler Services and Early Care and Education through Rainbows from 2002 – 2006 and then attended elementary school where she enjoyed Physical Education classes and a teacher that included her in all the activities. “Playground monkey bars and a slip n’ slide were favorites,” said Sherrill. “She’s never had fear of trying new things. She loves to be around people and do what her peers are doing.”

In 2015 Megan started her freshman year at Southeast High School in a wheelchair due to surgeries on both her legs, she didn’t let that stop her. She used the elevator and made it to all her classes. Eventually she was able to walk again and continues to walk with 2 canes. She excelled in science classes, enjoyed music and cooking too. Megan graduated high school with honors in 2019.

Now attending Wichita State University Megan enjoys making new friends. She volunteers at United Methodist Open Door helping in the office twice a week and has a positive outlook for her future. “I remember Rainbows being a place where anything was possible for me, not limiting,” said Megan. “I felt loved and so much support. I want to be able to encourage others like Rainbows did for me.”

Megan lives with her parents Lonnie and Sherrill Bailey. Her brother Nathan attends Oklahoma University. He also attended Rainbows and received therapy services in his pre-kindergarten years.