Meeting the needs of any child can be taxing. For parents of multiple children with special needs, the challenge is immense. Jill’s House is honored to serve families like the Creightons.
Bill and Andrea Creighton are blessed to have four children–Taylor (21) who is typical, and Samantha (17), Jeffery (13), and Ava (11), who all suffer from Fragile X syndrome. Fragile X is a genetically inherited intellectual disability that causes social anxiety, autistic behaviors and intellectual limitations. Fragile X manifests itself differently in each child. For instance, Ava cannot communicate verbally. By contrast, Samantha is verbal, but has challenges with and anxiety about social interactions, which limits the activities she feels comfortable doing with her peers.
“We don’t often attend events as a couple because there is no care for the children,” says Andrea. “In a ‘typical’ family children may be able to watch one another, but ours have disabilities that prevent us from leaving them alone.”
Andrea says it is also increasingly difficult to find activities to meet the children’s various developmental needs. Many teenagers and children may enjoy sleepovers, outings to the mall or trips to the bowling alley, but the Creighton children need a lot of support when doing these things and are rarely invited out. Fortunately, in 2011, Jill’s House became a much-anticipated outing for all three children.
At Jill’s House, Samantha, Jeffery and Ava are individually accepted and uniquely cared for. Jeffery has a blast laughing with his friends and the staff, and Ava often points to the Jill’s House logo to convey a longing for another stay. For Samantha, who stays at Jill’s House on Thursday nights with her classmates, Jill’s House has become a place to feel like other teenagers her age, and to be with her friends.
“We are so grateful that Jill’s House provides our children with the structure they crave and gives them a chance to try new things,” says Andrea. “It melts our hearts to see our children so happy.”