Adventist Health Glendale | Healthline Quarterly | Winter 2019

THIS IS A STORY OF COMPASSION, determina- tion, faith and lots of love. Together, they transformed a little boy’s life, giving his family hope for the future. It’s also about the professionals at Adventist Health Glendale’s Play to Learn Center—and how they helped make it happen. At age two, Aren wasn’t developing like other toddlers his age. Seemingly unaware of his surroundings, he was unable to walk, form words, chew his food or even drink through a straw. He was soon diagnosed with autism, apraxia of speech and dyspraxia, which limits speech ability and impairs fine and gross motor coordination. Facing extraordinary challenges rais- ing Aren, his parents were referred to Adventist Health Glendale’s Play to Learn Center, widely recognized for its success with developmentally disabled children. The Center’s team of physical and occupational therapists and speech- language pathologists began working with Aren and his family. Marie Elena Barth, speech pathologist and a former elemen- tary school teacher, was among team members who formed a special bond with the child. Marie discovered that music—singing nursery rhymes—was the magic wand to the first meaning- ful communication with Aren. Eager to find another medium so Aren could make his wants and needs known, Marie began experimenting with an iPad for communication. Meanwhile, occupational thera- pist Steven Bates worked relent- lessly to improve Aren’s fine motor skills, a crucial step in using the iPad keyboard. Progress was sometimes agonizingly slow, but eventually Aren became quite proficient at using picture icons and the keyboard to connect with thera- pists and his parents—skills that would change the course of his future. Among Adventist Health Glendale staff who work with Aren (center) are, from left, Virginia Cheng, physical therapist; Steven Bates, occupational therapist; Norma Olvera and Natalie Pollak, speech-language pathologists; and Joanne Parrish, occupational therapist. Supporting the Play to Learn Center The Foundation at Adventist Health Glendale contributes toward children’s summer camperships, equipment, educational supplies and other needs at the Play to Learn Center. For information on making a tax-deductible donation, please contact the Foundation at 818- 409‑8055 and ask for Gayle Craig, annual giving officer. ‘A miracle in the making’ Play to Learn Center changes a young life forever “I am immensely proud of our staff, whose skills and devotion to their work provide hope for the future of our children and their families.” —Traci Martinez, DPT, Play to Learn Center manager —Continued on page 7 A high-performing hospital TO F I N D A D O C TO R , V I S I T A D V E N T I S T H E A LT H . O R G / G L E N D A L E Nonprofit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Long Beach, CA Permit No. 2041 Glendale Adventist Medical Center 1509 Wilson Terrace Glendale, CA 91206 HEALTHLINE QUARTERLY ° AN AWARD-WINNING PUBLICATION AND COMMUNITY CONNECTION WINTER 2019