Red Bank, NJ – Megan and Matt Fasullo of Oceanport have a lot to be thankful for. First and foremost, after a very long journey that included fertility issues, they were finally able to take their newborn daughter, Grace, home from the NICU in October 2018. During this time, Grace was diagnosed with myotonic dystrophy – a long-term genetic disorder that affects muscle function.
While in the NICU, Grace’s Occupational Therapist (OT) told Megan about Early Intervention Services that the state provides. This system of services and supports is available to infants and young children with developmental delays and disabilities, as well as their families. Such services may include speech therapy, physical therapy and other services based on the needs of the child and family. “After going through the process, we were lucky enough to receive services from Family Resource Associates (FRA) in Red Bank,” Megan said. “The best part is that FRA paired us with the same OT (Ms. Jill), who was with Grace in the NICU.”
As a stay-at-home mom, Megan was able to be part of all of Grace’s in-person therapy services with FRA. When the pandemic started and services transferred over to telehealth, both Megan and Grace were comfortable with the therapists and the process. “I also had enough knowledge from past sessions that I knew how to manipulate Grace to do specific things that the therapists asked for during telehealth sessions,” Megan said.
Megan credits a lot of Grace’s successes to both Ms. Jill and Ms. Lisa, Grace’s physical therapist. “They are just amazing at what they do,” she added. “They made it so telehealth was not scary at all. They engaged with Grace every step of the way.”
When Grace resumed in-person services in September, she had already made amazing strides since the pandemic. “Grace grew leaps and bounds,” Megan added. “I even kept a journal to record all the milestones that Grace reached. Crawling was one of those milestones.”
This Thanksgiving season, Megan could not be more thankful for FRA. “As an agency, they are just so knowledgeable about the world of Early Intervention,” she said. “They always want to help Grace get the services that she needs. Sue Levine, our Social Worker and the Early Intervention Program Director at FRA, always has our best intentions at heart.”
Looking back, when Grace was only four months old, she had to wear braces on her feet. Megan recalls a time when Grace just wasn’t having a good day and so she texted Ms. Lisa to reschedule their therapy appointment. “Ms. Lisa encouraged me to keep the appointment because she wanted to help,” Megan remembered. “So, she came and exercised Grace’s feet. That’s who FRA is. They are really good people who always want to do whatever they can to help.”
The past three years have been eye-opening for the Fasullo family, but Megan is so grateful to know there are people who can help them turn challenges into opportunities. “After receiving the myotonic dystrophy diagnosis, I realized I was in a whole other world that I had no knowledge of,” Megan said. “Through FRA, I realized there are people who care about our situation and will listen to my concerns as a parent – and nothing means more to me than that.”
Despite the pandemic, the Early Intervention System is open for business at FRA and the State of New Jersey. To receive an evaluation for your child and to find out more about these Early Intervention services, please call 888-653-4463 or visit https://www.nj.gov/health/fhs/eis/for-families/when/. To learn more about FRA – PossAbilities for People with disAbilities, please visit www.frainc.org or call 732-747-5310.
About Family Resource Associates
Family Resource Associates, Inc. (FRA) is a 501(c)(3) in Monmouth County helping children, adolescents and people of all ages with disAbilities to reach their fullest potential. FRA connects individuals to independence through specialized therapies and advanced technology. Acknowledging the powerful influence of the family, we remain committed to them by offering both support and education.
FRA assists individuals of all ages who have developmental delays or disAbilities as well as acquired disAbilities. FRA provides home-based early intervention for infants, therapeutic recreation programs, pre-vocational and educational classes for adults, employAbility training and job coaching, along with family and sibling support groups.
TECHConnection, a signature program of FRA, leverages technology to help increase, maintain or improve the capabilities of individuals with disAbilities as a result of accident, injury, illness or aging as well as related issues affecting hearing, vision, reading or mobility. To learn more, visit frainc.org.
Federal Tax ID # 22-2285850 – NJ Charity Registration # CH0232800
Suggested photo caption:
The Fasullo Family