TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) - A 2-year-old boy with Down Syndrome faces daily challenges, both physically and mentally, but his family says they have seen big improvements with help from those at the Regional Rehabilitation Center.
"Having a child with a disability...it is hard to know what to do when you are at home," Jenifer Tasma said.
Her son, Asher Tasma, has been receiving therapy since he was a few months old.
A strong advocate for her son, Jenifer said her son's identity should never be replaced with his diagnosis. In other words, Asher has Down Syndrome, but that is not who he is.
"So having Down Syndrome causes Asher to have delay in speech," she said. "His tongue is thick and it's wider than his mouth. The speech therapy has helped tremendously with that."
She added that her son's muscles are weak from high plutonium that occurs from having Down Syndrome.
"He has been building his muscle strength since we have been here," she said.
Jenifer said her son has been building his muscle strength since arriving at the Rehab Center.
Regardless of insurance or income, all of the Rehab Center's services are free.
The services offered include physical, occupational, speech, dyslexia and early intervention.
The center tries to help everyone they can.
Jenifer said this is why she is grateful for the Rehab Center.
"Asher has learned so much since being here," she said. "His vocal skills have expanded with his speech therapy. He has learned to crawl. He has learned to pull up. We work with sign language. He has grown so much just being here."
Brandy Evans has worked at the Rehab Center for 15 years as a physical therapist.
She has worked with Asher for more than a year and works on his muscle control, balance and basic activities for a typical 2-year-old.
Evans said Asher is doing phenomenal.
"We could not do this without Regional Rehab; we couldn't," Jenifer said. "Asher has fallen in love with Kammie and Gretchen and Brandy and everyone that works here. They have been a key element."
To help the Regional Rehabilitation Center provide free services like physical therapy to children like Asher, you can tune into the Celebration of Hope telethon on Sunday, Nov. 17 at 1 p.m. on ABC-WTVA.