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Here at the Achievement Centers, we’ve had the honor to watch Leah Meister grow from a seven-month-old baby to the smiling, happy five-year-old she is today. Leah was born with a severe heart condition requiring surgery only 20 hours after birth and suffered a stroke affecting the left side of her tiny body. Her parents didn’t know what to expect of her future. “There’s a lot of unknowns with those big diagnoses, and we didn’t know if Leah was ever going to walk, communicate, eat on her own, or even play with us and that’s a lot to deal with,” said her mother Jacki. “I think getting her here for therapies so early was a game-changer for her.”

“We are grateful for her excellent team of therapists that have included physical, occupational, and speech therapists. Everyone treats Leah as a little girl – not a diagnosis – that’s why we stay.”

“What Leah does now – opening, reaching, and grabbing with her left hand, she could not do nine months ago. Last year at this time, her hand was very tight. Her occupational therapist, Gabby, knew what steps to take to get Leah where she is today, from loosening her muscles, then stretching and strengthening them,” explained Jacki.

Leah was recently introduced to a communications device by her speech therapist where Leah selects buttons so that the device can speak for her and express her needs and wants. “It’s relieved a lot of frustration for Leah to learn how to communicate with us.”

“It’s hard, but you should always have hope. You can always find joy and you will always have love. Don’t count them out because these kids are amazingly tough. We’re lucky to have Leah. She’s a delight, very happy, and content with life. She’s a blessing to everybody.”

"I think getting her here for therapies so early was a game-changer for Leah."

Jacki Meister
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