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Broward County program helps children born with special needs

nce it’s inception in 1983, The Children’s Diagnostic and Treatment Center has helped an average of 8,000-12,000 families a year.
nce it’s inception in 1983, The Children’s Diagnostic and Treatment Center has helped an average of 8,000-12,000 families a year.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Children born with special needs can require a multitude of care through out their lives, which for parents can only serve to complicate an already difficult situation.

That’s where the Children’s Center for Diagnostic Treatment comes in to provide assistance to people like Katie Gadson Aird who’s son Parker Ming was born prematurely on March 30, 1999.

His condition was so grave doctors were not optimistic about his future.

”I walked in to wash up one day in the NICU and they all came around saying ‘He’s a very sick kid.  If you don’t think you can handle it we can pull the plug,’” recalled Aird.

But instead of giving up, she dug in with faith and determination to find her fragile baby the best care she could.

”Thank God I found Children’s Diagnostic and Treatment Center (CDTC) otherwise we’d probably still be in some kind of limbo,” Aird said.

Specialists at the center knew there was a long road ahead for Parker.

”He was super medically complex. He’s probably one of the more medically fragile children that have come through this program,” said Kristen Ely with CDTC.

The program managed a multitude of Parker’s medical needs along with developmental issues that required physical, occupational and speech therapy.

”Over the years just the services he needed blossomed. We have medical case management programs to help families navigate the healthcare system because it can be very overwhelming as a parent to have to do all of that on your own,” Ely said.

Parker recently graduated from high school and now that he’s past his 21st birthday, he has also graduated from CDTC’s Early Steps Program.

The center is now helping guide him into special needs programs and resources for adults.

”How amazing to see this life transition and everything he’s gone through and how healthy and great he’s doing today,” said Ely.

”This was a miracle, all of this,” added Aird.

Since it’s inception in 1983, The Children’s Diagnostic and Treatment Center has helped an average of 8,000 to12,000 families a year.


About the Authors:

Veteran journalist Kathleen Corso is the special projects producer for Local 10 News.

Kristi Krueger has built a solid reputation as an award-winning medical reporter and effervescent anchor. She joined Local 10 in August 1993. After many years co-anchoring the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m., Kristi now co-anchors the noon newscasts, giving her more time in the evening with her family.