Moffat County generously supports children who have developmental disabilities and their families

Sasha Nelson
A congenital birth defect slowed Airdrie Anderson's development. She and her family received help from Horizons' Early Intervention and Family Support Service. Mark and Jordan Anderson hold their four children, from left, Aberdeen, Caedmon, Airdrie and Caithness.
Courtesy Photo

— Children with developmental disabilities and their families are supported by the generosity of Moffat County residents who have donated $17,000 to Horizons Specialized Services Little Points of Light direct mail fundraising campaign.

“Horizons loves Moffat County,” said Deirdre Pepin who provides resource development and public relations for Horizons Specialized Services. “Moffat County supporters have been so loyal. I think that Moffat County has a heart for these issues and their community members.”

It’s estimated that 8 percent of children under age 15 have some sort of disability, Pepin said and costs associated care can easily reach $60,000 per year per individual.

“We are asking for donations to help kids and families enrolled in our early prevention and family support program,” Pepin said.

The goal is to raise $20,000 to 25,000 that will in stay Moffat County to help roughly 50 children and about 30 families.

Each year Horizons brings to light the story of a family facing the challenges and costs of raising a child with developmental disabilities.

“Behind the scenes we try to identify a good personal interest story that shows how early intervention and family support can impact a family,” Pepin said.

Mark and Jordan Anderson volunteered to share the story of their miracle baby — Airdrie.

“Mark and I are Christians,” Jordan said. “We thought anytime we have a chance to tell the story, it’s an opportunity to give glory to God and help other people out.”

The couple was expecting their fourth child and preparing for a two-year mission to Scotland when tests showed a spot on the baby’s brain.

“She has Dandy-Walker Malformation (a disorder of the connective tissue between the spheres of the brain). It was diagnosed at 20 weeks, on Tuesday and we moved to Scotland on Wednesday,” Jordan Anderson said. “There is a huge spectrum of severity and there was no way for us to know, until after birth, the degree of her handicap.”

The condition often results in miscarriage, stillbirth or early infant death.

“We had three different doctors at three times question our decision to keep our baby,” Jordan Anderson said. “As Christians we are very pro-life. The doctors didn’t know everything, and it disturbed me that doctors presented abortion as an option.”

Their faith guided them and on Oct. 24, 2013 doctors at a Scottish hospital used C-section to deliver Airdrie Abileen Anderson.

“She wasn’t crying or breathing. But our mighty God stepped in. Airdrie gave a small squeak, and the nurses flashed Mark a thumb’s-up sign,” Jordan Anderson said. “I can’t imagine having to go through something like this without faith.”

The family, including Airdrie’s older sisters and brother — Aberdeen, Caedmon and Caithness — returned to America in 2015 and Mark Anderson became assistant minister at the Craig Christian Church.

Airdrie was immediately enrolled in Horizons’ early intervention program that saw her therapy increase from once every six weeks to as often as five times each week.

“Airdrie is developmentally and motor-delayed, but she is cognitively bright. The family has high hopes that she’ll live typically and independently,” Pepin said. “Most of our kids graduate and are mainstream by kindergarten.”

Horizons provides early intervention to children from birth until 3 years of age when the school system begins providing services. Many families also receive money from the family support program.

“It’s not a service but a pot of money to help the family pay for essentials… so they don’t have to live with financial stress as well as the other stresses,” Pepin said. “There is never enough money to meet the needs of the individuals and families we serve.”

Horizons would need $240,000 to provide the 80 families across their five county service area with $3,000 a year. About $70,000 comes from the state general fund, and the rest must be raised.

Donations are being accepted online at or send a check to: Horizons Central Office, Little Points of Light, P.O. Box 774867, Steamboat Springs, CO 80477.

To learn more about qualifying for help contact Horizons Family Services Coordinator Tonya Ferguson at 970-824-7804.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education.

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