Alyssa's Story

Images Captured By Little Star Photography

Meet four-year-old Alyssa. This extraordinary little girl has a smile that lights up a room and she has a big heart. She is compassionate and caring and gives the best cuddles. Alyssa enjoys dressing up (especially in her monkey costume), watching the Big Comfy Couch, playing with dirt, sand, or Play-Doh, riding her bike and, of course, eating!

Alyssa was born healthy, though she suffered from severe gastrointestinal reflux and colic in the first few months of her life. In addition to her health issues, Alyssa’s parents soon realized that her development was not as it should be. She wasn’t connecting with them, looking them in the eyes, or cooing and babbling. She wasn’t holding her head up when she was on her tummy, couldn’t roll over, and wasn’t attempting to crawl or play with toys. When Alyssa was 10 months old, she started seeing developmental therapists and physiotherapists, all of whom were concerned. She underwent testing (urine samples, blood tests, CT and MRI scans) but everything came back normal so she was diagnosed with global developmental delay.

Global developmental delay affects between five and ten percent of the childhood population and most children, including Alyssa, have impairment in all of the following domains: fine motor skills, gross motor skills, speech and language, cognitive skills, and social and emotional skills. Alyssa continues to show progress but is still completely non-verbal. She can walk with some assistance, ride a tricycle, eat a few things on her own, and is beginning to overcome her severe anxiety that arises in certain situations. She is gaining more and more independence every day, but it is unknown how severe her delays will be as she grows older. Also, In February of this year, Alyssa started having seizures and is currently undergoing testing to determine what may be causing them.  

It is extremely difficult for Alyssa’s parents to see their daughter surrounded by other children because it makes her delays so apparent; however, watching her try to communicate and seeing how hard she works to learn new things is inspiring. Her mother, Kathryn, is thankful for the great people she’s met since her daughter’s diagnosis. “I know now that no matter what life throws at you, no matter how bad it gets, as long as you have your family, or people you love around to share it, nothing else matters.”

Story by Emily Harrison