Olivia is a 6 year old fun, loving and happy little girl residing in central New Jersey with her mom Taryn, dad Brian, 19 month old brother James and family dog Annie. Prior to birth, Olivia was diagnosed with Ring 22 Chromosome Disorder. Three years later, the size of her chromosome deletion was detected and Olivia was diagnosed with Phelan-McDermid Syndrome and most recently Autism. Quite a diagnosis, right? Well, despite the many challenges Olivia is faced with, she is a very hard working and determined little girl.
Probably one of the most difficult challenges in raising Olivia is the fact that she is completely non-verbal – no words, no sound approximations, no forms of sign language, just a range of sounds including lots of giggles. Funny thing is that Olivia had 5 words at 12 months of age, lost them 3 months later and they have yet to return. Because of this impairment, Olivia uses a picture system to communicate and is currently learning augmentative applications for use with her iPad. An electronic voice is far better than no voice at all!
In addition to her language impairment, Olivia has a degree of cognitive impairment, poor fine motor skills, weakened hand strength, decreased motor coordination, sensory processing disorder, decreased ability to regulate body temperature, consistent teeth grinding, a strong desire to lick metal and increased irritable behaviors.
Since age 3, Olivia attends a special services full-day school program for 11 months throughout the year. In addition to her education (which includes Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy and Physical Therapy), she also receives private Occupational Therapy and ABA therapy. Through a collaborative approach, Olivia utilizes a wide variety of fun activities to help develop better body awareness, core strength, fine motor skills as well as communication development.
Olivia is a sensory seeker and enjoys a wide variety of physical activities including jumping on her trampoline, swinging and running around on the playground. Her most favorite pastimes include: therapeutic horseback riding, swimming, surfing, bike riding, watching videos (her favorite is The Fresh Beat Band), eating and playing with her little brother.
Through perseverance, love, patience and strength, Olivia has far exceeded the expectations that were presented to her parents on November 23, 2005, the day that has changed the Stack Family’s life forever.
With P-MS love, this is the story of Olivia as told by her mother Taryn c. August 2012.