Girl, Age: 8
Primary Diagnosis: Deaf / HoH, Other Special Needs
Other specified congenital malformations of brain; Paraplegia; Pervasive developmental disorder, unspecified; Exotropia; Congenital malformation of optic disc; Ptosis of eyelid; Subclinical iodine-deficiency hypothyroidism; Hypopituitarism; Sensorineural hearing loss, bilateral
Listed: Sep 2020
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From a family who met her in March 2021:  Gemma is an adorable little girl. She has a bright and spunky personality and is full of laughter and smiles. She loves to be held and embraced and ran to us with hugs. She played ring around the rosy with us, danced in our arms, and loved to be twirled. When given a kiss, she instinctively gives one back. She is so sweet. She loves to play outside, ride a scooter, play in the sand. She says “yes” (in Russian) for most things but she can say other words. She understands everything said to her. She listens extremely well to the nannies and they speak to her as they would a typical 5 year old. She can do the physical tasks a pre-K age child can do (get dressed and undressed, ride a scooter, play with toys, etc). She is toilet trained, though the nannies had her in a pull up while with us. Her vision is impaired and though she can see well enough to get around just fine, she holds things very closely to her face to see them. She has a hearing loss diagnosis but appears to be able to hear everything, though maybe she could still benefit from hearing aids. We were told that she is developmentally like a two year old. This was true in many of her behaviors but we found that she understands much more than a two year old. She has autistic behaviors without an autism diagnosis. She is definitely a sensory seeker; she has a lot of energy and needs to be given tasks and activities to keep her focused. When she is engaged in something she likes, she is completely absorbed in it. She could play the piano for a very long time oblivious to everything going on around her. Though she appears to be in her own world, we were often able to “intrude” into her world and to play with her, to get her to smile and to mimic us and were seeing gains so quickly. Her smile and laughter bring so much joy! Gemma is smart. She can learn. We taught her some basic sign language (“more”) and she began to use it right away without any coaching. She immediately caught on. She will flourish so much in a family who gives her the tools to communicate. She is truly an amazing child, adorable and full of life.