Emmetsburg, IA — For Laura Reinders, the services of her local Area Education Agency helped her twins from the very beginning—and it continues to be an important part of their lives.
“Our twins, Carter and Zoey, were born extremely premature, being 14-and-a-half weeks early,” Reinders says. “While still in the NICU, Randi Black, an AEA provider, called to introduce us to services provided through the agency. After that first call, we were able to leave the NICU with an entire support team in place for speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy.”
With Black’s help, the twins were able to get the therapy they needed quickly.
“We were seeing providers within one week of our NICU discharge,” Reinders says. “There is no way I could have lined all of that up alone in the time we were able to as a team.”
According to Reinders, the AEA providers were highly accommodating to their family’s situation. AEA staff members were willing to travel to the family’s home to limit the twins’ exposure to outside germs, given their weak immune systems at the time.
“There is longevity and consistency in the AEA providers, even in our rural area,” Reinders says. “This is so important to cases like our children, as their needs are so dynamic and intensive. Our providers stayed with us until Carter and Zoey were three years old.”
However, the Reinders’ relationship with the AEA team did not end there. Carter continued to be monitored for speech therapy support. Today, the twins are flourishing fourth graders!
“We largely contribute Carter and Zoey’s miraculous development to the team of AEA providers they were blessed with from such an early age,” Reinders says. “The AEA came in at the right time and helped the twins beat the odds. I cannot imagine what life would be like for Carter and Zoey without the countless hours dedicated to them by our incredible team of AEA providers.”
Stories like this one illustrate the value provided by AEAs across Iowa. Have a similar story you would like to share regarding AEA services? We would love to hear it! Share your story here: www.iowaaea.org/share-your-story.