James family is a true EI success story

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Despite her tiny frame, Kinsley Grace James is an unstoppable force.

After being born at 28 weeks and weighing 1 pound, 2 ounces, the now 2-year-old has made consistent strides through services from Alabama’s Early Intervention System (AEIS).

The road to progress has certainly run into its fair share of obstacles, but Kinsley’s mother, Ashly James, said her daughter does not know the meaning of the word “quit.”

“She is tough,” she said. “We have been told plenty of times she would not make it. She is determined. She’ll try something, and it might not work but she is going to keep going.”

After her birth, Kinsley, who is from the small Washington County town of Millry, stayed in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for six months in Mobile and Hattiesburg, Mississippi. She was diagnosed with bronchopulmonary dyplasia, pulmonary hypertenstion, and was prescribed Zantac, Prevacid, and Infacare. She came home with a g-button and has endured two laser eye surgeries.

Fortunately, she received superb pediatric care from Jennifer McNease of Millry Pediatrics, who makes in-home visits as needed. She is being followed by an eye doctor, pulmonologist, cardiologist, and gastroenterologist. The family has worked with Children’s Rehabilitation Service in nearby Jackson as well.

Her numerous medical issues and the challenges of living in a rural community could have impeded her progress, but Kinsley has defied the odds to move ahead of the curve. When she was first referred to AEIS by Children’s of Alabama in Birmingham at 9 months old, Kinsley was found to be approximately five to nine months behind in her development.

Kinsley was bearing weight on her feet when held upright, holding rattles in her hand, and interacting by smiling and cooing. She was very social and curious about her surroundings, which proved to be an asset in her later development.

Kinsley’s Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) had outcomes to help her roll back and forth and push up on her hands so she could play on her tummy and sit independently. This helped her to participate in a daily routine of bath time, mealtime, and playtime.

She began receiving Early Intervention services monthly in January 2018 to address these concerns.

Initially, Early Intervention Service Coordinator and Special Instructor Jacynda Shepard said they feared her vision would slow her progress, but this has not been the case. Kinsley, sporting a pair of pink glasses, is not only walking but running through the family home and breezing through her sessions.

“Kinsley has no fear,” Shepard said. “That has really been a positive as far as not being afraid to try things.”

They initially worked toward improving her motor skills but have now moved on to a larger emphasis on speech-related exercises, Shepard said.

“We’re trying to get her to imitate sounds and imitate words,” she said. “She has done a great job.”

During a March 26 visit, Kinsley was able to match items with pictures on a page and sound out words. Shepard said they are also focusing on feeding in the home and will eventually begin clinics.

Shepard credits Kinsley’s family with helping her make great strides. She said they never miss an appointment unless there is an illness and do their part to provide support and exercises between visits.

It is hard to believe that the tiny girl who once laid in a small bassinette is the fiery young lady running through the family home today, Shepard said, but it is a great example of what can be accomplished through AEIS and its partners.

Leave a Reply