Penny Morris beams with pride as she watches her identical twin daughters, Jordyn and Hayley, ages 17, mingle with teachers and staff from Developmental Disabilities Institute’s (DDI’s) Early Childhood Services Program in Huntington. This is a visit they have been planning for several years and one that mom says was made possible by the early education her daughters received from DDI. Born prematurely and diagnosed with autism at a young age, no one knew what the future would hold for Jordyn and Hayley.
But with DDI’s Early Intervention program and the family’s perseverance, the girls are now focusing on their high school AP classes, scouting for colleges and are Co-Presidents of “Wear Sew Smart,” a community outreach initiative they created to help children develop literacy, motor and play skills.
“My daughters wouldn’t be where they are today without DDI,” said Morris. “DDI was everything to them, and the visit today is a dream come true. It is a way to give thanks and show people that success is possible how important Early Intervention is.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 1 in 36 children have been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Decades of underfunding have left thousands of children with developmental delays and disabilities on long waiting lists and many without sorely needed Early Intervention Services.
Stories like the Morris illustrate just how vital and life-changing Early Intervention is for people with autism and their families. Jordyn and Hayley are shining examples of what the right at the right time can do to help a child reach their fullest potential.