A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Northern Kentucky attorney thanks Redwood for offering a welcoming place for her daughter

By Liz Younger

Liz Younger, an attorney, shares her thoughts regarding her daughter, Mae, and Redwood’s impact on their family.

Mae was diagnosed with an unbalanced translocation of the ninth and 13th chromosomes which happens when a piece of one chromosome breaks off and attaches to another chromosome resulting in a little extra genetic material.

Liz Younger

When we met with the genetics team at Children’s Hospital they used phrases like “intellectual disability” and “developmental delay.”  They told us they “had reason to believe” our daughter would talk one day – a skill we thought was a foregone conclusion.  It was our first exposure to the language of special needs and it was a doozy.

So here we were, in a life that was barely recognizable and more than a little bit scary. As we started having conversations with family and friends about this new reality we kept hearing about that amazing place in Fort Mitchell… you know, Redwood. We needed a life raft, so we got on it.

Mae was scheduled for a spinal cord surgery at the end of the month and we wanted her to start at Redwood as soon as possible after her recovery.

She started in the Toddler B room on June 8, 2015 and she has never looked back.

By Labor Day she was walking, by Thanksgiving she was running, and by Christmas she was using a few signs to communicate. Today Mae is a rough and tumble girl.

Her favorite things to do are to look at pictures, sing songs, and play outside. She gets to do all of those things and much more every day with her buddies here at Redwood. She is well loved by her teachers and is even able to receive therapy sessions right in the classroom.

More than it being a loving place for Mae to learn and grow, it is also a place where we can learn about resources and connect with other families in the special needs community.  Redwood has given us all a place to belong.

Redwood has helped open our eyes to our own inner blindness and we are seeing the world in a new light through the eyes of our sweet Mae.

So I guess I am here to say “Thank You.”

Thank you for attending meetings, organizing fundraisers, and working hard to grow and maintain Redwood. Thank you for taking time away from your families to create a safe place for mine. And thank you for striving to create a place in Northern Kentucky where hearts are open, and none are blind.”

Liz Younger is an attorney in Northern Kentucky

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