Megan, Kelton and Steve Mudge sit inside their home in Craig. When Kelton was born, Megan and Steve were told their son would live in a vegetative state because of complications he endured while in the womb. But, Kelton proved them wrong: he recently graduated from Horizons Specialized Services’ Early Intervention program, where he learned basic motor and communication skills.

Photo by Joe Moylan

Megan, Kelton and Steve Mudge sit inside their home in Craig. When Kelton was born, Megan and Steve were told their son would live in a vegetative state because of complications he endured while in the womb. But, Kelton proved them wrong: he recently graduated from Horizons Specialized Services’ Early Intervention program, where he learned basic motor and communication skills.

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Megan, Kelton and Steve Mudge stand near the Christmas tree inside their home in Craig. Kelton graduated in May from Horizons Specialized Services’ Early Intervention program for developmentally disabled children.

“He’s truly been a blessing to us because he has taught us so much. There are a lot of things that we took for granted.”

Craig resident Steve Mudge on his son, Kelton, who recently graduated from Horizons Specialized Services’ Early Intervention program for developmentally disabled children.

December is an important month for Moffat County families who rely on Horizons Specialized Services. Read more...

At first blush, Kelton Mudge appears to be just like any other 3-year-old boy.

He’s quick with a smile, loves to laugh and sing, and can invent new games on a whim, like “zipper coat” — zipping and unzipping someone’s jacket to hear the funny noise it makes.

But, there was a time when Kelton’s parents, Megan and Steve, worried whether their son would be able to lead a normal life.

“When he was born, they told us he wouldn’t be able to walk or talk or do anything on his own,” Megan said. “That he’d live in a vegetative state.”

Kelton contracted hydrocephalus while still in the womb, which caused a grade three interventricular hemorrhage to the brain. He underwent two brain surgeries before he was a month old.

Kelton was also diagnosed with optic nerve atrophy at birth and lost the majority of his eyesight.

Rather than accept Kelton’s preliminary diagnosis, Megan and Steve enrolled their son in Horizons Specialized Services’ Early Intervention program for newborns to 3-year-olds.

The program is designed to help teach children with developmental disabilities basic motor skills such as crawling, walking, climbing stairs and how to communicate.

Occupational therapist Jodi Glaisher began meeting with Kelton once a week from the time he was 4 months old, Steve said.

“Jodi was amazing for us. There were a couple of times when she would just come over and talk,” he said. “It was good to have someone around who understood children and how to work with them.

“Kelton still talks about her. She was very instrumental in his upbringing to this point.”

Steve said Glaisher designed the work she and Kelton needed to do around play or fun activities.

“I like her, she’s my friend,” Kelton said of Glaisher. “We played together.”

Considering Kelton’s initial diagnosis, the progress he’s made in the last three years is a testament to the work done by Horizons’ staffers, the Mudges said.

“He’s truly been a blessing to us because he has taught us so much,” Steve said. “There are a lot of things that we took for granted.”

Megan said Kelton graduated from the Early Intervention program in May. She and her husband continue to celebrate their son’s small victories.

“We’re pretty impressed with him because everything he does is new to him,” Megan said. “He’s just been an inspiration.”

Now that Kelton is out of the program, Steve said the family is focusing on treating Kelton like any other child.

“That’s the biggest thing,” he said. “We don’t want him to be any different. If you want something, you go get it. You don’t ask someone else to get it for you.”

Kelton, his parents said, is embracing his independence.

Horizons Specialized Services is currently in the midst of its annual Little Points of Light fundraiser.

For more information or to make a financial contribution, visit www.horizonsnwc.org, or mail checks to Horizons Specialized Services, P.O. Box 1483, Craig, CO 81625.

Joe Moylan can be reached at 875-1794 or jmoylan@craigdailypress.com.

Comments

dennis collins 3 years ago

you guys hang in there. my niece was diagnosed with exactly the same thing. they told her parent she would have all the same problems they told you about. today she knits blankets for veterans and works full time as a receptionist for a law firm in denver. danielle is 34 years old now and has no plans to die any time soon. she is a wonderful Christian woman with plans for her life. don't let anyone talk you into believing different. love that little guy and treat him like all the other little guys, he will do fine and you will be proud of him. oh, they said she would be slow all her life, well maybe, but she finished high school and did two years in college.

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