DSC is full of truly incredible people, and we want to share these beautiful stories with you, the public! Stay tuned as we highlight important people and things that help DSC in fulfilling our mission! 


Tree of Hope Family Update

Remember the Etheridge Family, our 2023 Tree of Hope Spokesfamily? We are excited to share a family update from mom, Jess...

"I know our time as the Tree of Hope family is over, but how DSC is impacting our family isn’t, and I want to continue letting you know how thankful we are!

With the help of DSC Speech and Language Pathologist, Karissa, we have finally figured out the best way for Avonlea to access her AAC (augmentative and alternative communication) device with her scanning button at her head and the button to choose her word on her chest. It has taken a year of trialing different buttons, collaborating with school therapists, and lots of outside-the-box thinking to finally find a position that she can easily access!

Recently, I was brought to tears multiple times as I saw how this new access to communication will give her new opportunities in life. 

We spent the weekend at a baseball tournament with our extended family and cousins. As we sat around the dinner table, Avonlea scrolled through names of family members, intentionally choosing who she wanted to say “hello” to. The cousins’ faces would light up when she would say their names. Avonlea has often been a mystery to them and they vary in their degree of interacting with her. However, after they watched her select words and say their names, it instantly broke down huge walls and they all were talking to her and interacting with her in new ways. She was overjoyed, clapping and kicking because the people she loves understood her! 

We also went out to dinner with families from the baseball team. As she explored her words, these families saw her in a new way, as someone with thoughts and feelings! In an instant, people approached Avonlea and talked to her, instead of just walking past her. Avonlea loves people and access to words has broken down barriers that have brought more people into her world." 

Jess adds, “We are also thankful to have our respite hours increased for the summer, so Avonlea can play and learn while I balance the active lives of our boys. Our family is thriving, and DSC is a big part of the reason why!” 

We are so moved when we receive life-changing family updates! A huge thank you to the Etheridge Family and to all of our past Tree of Hope families for your willingness to share your family's story with our community!