Keyonna “Kiki” is a loving and energetic little girl. She loves spending time with her family. She loves puzzles, playing games and swimming. She likes to play with Minions, Paw Patrol and Peppa Pig. She has overcome many obstacles since she was born at 27 weeks, 1 lb. 1 oz. She is truly our miracle baby.
After spending five months in the NICU, Kiki was finally able to come home. We were so excited! She was making so many improvements medically, but we noticed that she wasn’t making eye contact or responding to facial expressions. She wasn’t making the usual baby noises. She didn’t start crawling when she was supposed to, and her walking was delayed. We immediately started evaluations with specialists and the tests began.
Our sweet little girl was diagnosed with Global Developmental Delay and Autism Spectrum Disorder. Kiki is nonverbal and is learning to use a communication device. Communication is her biggest struggle. When she is unable to communicate her needs, it can manifest in meltdowns. This can lead to aggressive and self-injurious behaviors. She also struggles with safety issues because she doesn’t understand danger. She started therapy as soon as we received her diagnosis. Over the last five years, she has made so many improvements with the help of her amazing therapy team.
We are so excited to join the Topaz family and add a skilled companion dog to Kiki’s therapy team. The companion dog can help Kiki in so many ways including providing sensory input and helping with self-regulation. They can even redirect bad behaviors and improve sleep habits! She has worked with a therapy dog at school and becomes more vocal when the dog is nearby! Kiki can’t wait for her new best friend to join the family. Any contribution to help make this possible is greatly appreciated.