Meet Eshita!

 
 

With support from Early Intervention, this little girl has come a long way!

 

Kumari Dhungel is very proud of her little girl.

At 6 months, her daughter Eshita Dhakal is all smiles and can use her little arms to scoot across the floor to grab her favorite toys.

“Everything makes her happy,” Kumari said. “She’s always smiling.”

Eshita recently had her 6-month checkup and her pediatrician was pleased with her development, That was great news to her family.

When Eshita was 8 days old, she began vomiting and was admitted to the hospital. Doctors discovered she had a brain hemorrhage which led to hydrocephalus, a build up of fluid around the brain. Doctors had to operate and place a shunt in her head to stop the swelling.

After two months at Children’s, Eshita was home from the hospital but was very weak. She couldn’t lift her head, hated to be on her tummy and avoided using the side of her body where the shunt is.

Her doctors recommended that her parents get connected with the Licking County Board of Developmental Disabilities (LCBDD) Early Intervention program.

LCBDD offers Early Intervention (EI) services in the homes of children, birth to age 3, with developmental delays, disabilities or medical conditions likely to result in delays. Services are provided at no cost to Licking County families.

Michelle Chapman, a developmental specialist with LCBDD, began regular visits with Eshita and her family at their Reynoldsburg home sharing different strategies to help her get stronger.

“I’m a new mom so I didn’t know what to do (to help her),” Kumari said. “(Michelle) came and taught me what to do. It really helped me.”

After three months, Eshita has made great progress. She can move around to grab her toys and is working hard to sit up. Kumari said she is looking forward to seeing her move even more and learn to communicate.

Kumari and her family came to the United States from Nepal when she was a teenager, eventually settling in western Licking County, where there is a growing community of Nepali families.

Some families can be hesitant to reach out for help, if they feel their child is struggling to meet milestones or could have a disability. But Kumari said she wanted to make sure her daughter had everything she needed to succeed.

If parents have concerns about their child, they should contact LCBDD, Kumari said.  They don’t have to wait for a doctor’s office to make a referral.

“It doesn’t change anything that people know. If I would have hesitated to call (Early Intervention) that would have been negative for her, and I didn’t want that,” she said. “It’s important for them to help their kids.”

Michelle said she has had a a great experience working with Kumari and her family, as well as other Nepali families in Licking County.

“It has really opened a door to their culture,” she said. “They have welcomed us into their families.”

Kumari said she has been grateful that Early Intervention was there for her daughter.

“She is going to make me very proud someday,” she said.

For more information about Early Intervention in Licking County, go to lcountydd.org/early-childhood/.

 

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