Four family members of children with special needs offer What I Wish I Knew Then.

Molly is a recent graduate of ACCESS Academy where she was class president and a captain of the cheer team. She just started Project SEARCH, an innovative job-training program that includes a nine-month internship. Nonverbal at 3 1/2 years old, she was diagnosed with apraxia — a neurological syndrome characterized by difficulty with motor planning and performing tasks — through the Developmental Center at Arkansas Children's Hospital.

“It was very frustrating to only get the answer of ‘we’ll have to wait and see.’ As her parents, we wanted a clearer picture of what her future would look like and that’s just not possible,” says Linda.

“We were told that we had to decide between being more aggressive with Molly’s sign language or put her on an augmentative device, as there was a good chance that Molly would never be verbal,” says Linda. “[Then] Molly started at ACCESS when she was 5 and she began making verbal sounds within a few months. Now at the age of 18, she is still in speech therapy, but speaks very well.”

What do you wish you would have done differently?
I wish we would have gotten a second opinion prior to Molly being 3 1/2 years old. We knew she was developmentally delayed and I wish we had sought help sooner.

How did you find information to help you make decisions for her?
The first person to help us was a social worker at ACH. Since Molly was 5, we’ve been advised by the team at ACCESS Academy.

What other advice do you have for Little Rock Family readers?
Following a week stay at ACH, God really laid on our hearts that what Molly was and was not able to do independently as an adult was not as important as her being happy and healthy. I’ve repeated this to myself many times. Happy and healthy is what’s important and everything else is a bonus.

We are so thankful that God chose us to be Molly’s parents. She brings joy to all who get to be a part of her circle. She is smart, beautiful, kind, hardworking and above all else, she is happy and healthy!