My precious son, Elliot was born February 2, 2007 via an emergency cesarean section. While we were waiting for him to take his first breath, the doctor informed me that Elliot looked like he had Down Syndrome. Elliot’s first three months were spent in the NICU at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. We almost lost him several times. I did not focus on the fact that he had Down Syndrome for a lot of that time because I was just praying he would survive. He had so many health complications that I focused on those hurdles as they came. I did not know a lot about Down Syndrome but I knew that I would learn all I could as I needed. I got Elliot on the waiting list at the Little Light House when he was a month old and still in the NICU. I did not know much about the school, but I knew I wanted to give my son every opportunity I could, and the Little Light House would be the best.
Elliot was fortunate to be able to attend the Little Light House for five years. We got that coveted call late July 2008 to let us know there was a last minute spot open! Elliot was 18 months old and not sitting up independently. Two months attending school and he was starting to sit up. He had some motivation… he did not want to miss out on what was going on around him. Seven months later, he was walking with a walker. It was so nice to have other people interested and excited about his progress. Teachers, therapists, and office staff cheering him on every step of the way. He loved the attention and that inspired him to make great strides year by year. The Little Light House is a place filled with hope. You feel it from the children, their parents, volunteers and the staff members. So many parents of children with special needs are told when their children are born that they won’t reach certain milestones.
The Little Light House is a beacon of hope that renews not only the children’s spirits, but the parents as well. The staff love the students like their own and sees the potential in our children that the rest of the world does not see. I see now more than ever that the LLH is a training ground for not only our children but the parents as well. Training us to fight for the best for our kids, to cheer our kids on as they hit milestones the rest of the world thought they would never accomplish, to be advocates for our children and others like them, and to teach others that every life matters. The Little Light House prepares us to be beacons of light to be sent out into the rest of the world. The LLH prepares our students for school in the real world and prepares us how to face the real world and show them all that our children will accomplish!