Rayna has a sunny disposition even during moments when other toddlers might throw a fit.
“She is always in a good mood. She can be sicker than a dog and still be smiling and laughing,” says her mom, Angel.
The 2-year-old loves spending time with grandparents, Nana and Papa, taking walks with mom and snuggling with Greta, the family’s blue heeler. Reading “Clifford the Big Red Dog” books with Nana is a favorite pastime.
Joya Child & Family Development became part of their lives when Rayna was 3 months old. She had struggled to breathe at birth and doctors determined she has achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism.
Angel contacted Joya and soon Rayna received an interdisciplinary assessment and a home-based program designed to help her realize all of her possibilities.
“She is my first baby, so it was just really stressful. Everyone at Joya was really kind,” Angel recalls.
Doctors said Rayna would not walk until about 3 years of age because her legs are shorter and it takes more effort to develop strength and balance. Rayna and Cheryl, her Joya physical therapist worked extra hard and proved them wrong.
“She walked in half the time they said she would,” Angel recalls. “She wants to walk all of the time now and is very independent.”
Although Rayna is easy to parent, she has preferences. A pair of pants adorned with horses is her clothing item of choice, while socks annoy her.
Rayna enjoys riding her rocking pony and likes to create art. No one can figure out if she will be left-or right-handed because Rayna currently uses both.
As part of a Joya toddler group, Rayna is becoming more outgoing and joins in with her peers after reading the room. Around adults, she is more talkative.
Angel, a single parent who works full-time, appreciates that Joya incorporates therapy into the toddler group.
“Knowing she is getting the therapy she needs is such a relief,” Angel says.