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Little Points of Light seeks contributions

Reid Armstrong
Sky-Hi News
Grand County, CO Colorado

HOT SULPHUR SPRINGS – When Terrin Merritt was 11 months old, his parents started to notice him doing a few things that seemed different than his older sister.

He had been born six weeks premature, and he had recently started shaking and banging his head a lot.

“We thought, oh this is not good,” said his mother Brandy Merritt, who was also in the process of starting a home daycare at the time.



The folks she was working with at Grand Beginnings suggested she have Terrin evaluated by Horizons.

Horizons was created in 1975 to provide services to persons with developmental disabilities in five northwest Colorado counties (Grand, Jackson, Moffat, Rio Blanco, and Routt). Most of the work they do in Grand County involves home-based developmental screening and early intervention services for children from birth to age 3.



Horizons determined that Terrin’s inner ear had been slow to develop, which made it uncomfortable for him to do things other children enjoy such as jumping and swinging. Instead of crawling, he “scootched,” and Horizons provided physical therapy for that.

Now, at 17 months, he is lagging behind in his speech and the Horizons therapists are working with him more in that arena.

The therapist comes to the Merritt home once a week to work with Terrin, and the family has never had to pay a dime, Brandy said.

Brandy also watches another little boy, Max Heckerson, with down syndrome, and Horizons offers three different therapists who come to the Merritt house and educate Brandy, giving her tools for working with a child with down syndrome. They also counsel the parents and work with the child himself to overcome some of the hurdles that lie ahead for him.

“It’s incredible for a community of this size to be able to help so many children and for Horizons provide all that they do,” Brandy said.

The 35-year-old nonprofit relies on its annual Little Points of Light letter campaign to raise funds for its early intervention and family support programs.

In Grand County alone, Horizons works with as many as 20 children and their families at any given time.

“It is something special to have up here,” said Roberta Hovermale who runs the program for Grand and Jackson counties.

Screenings are available year-round with no wait list, she added. Referrals can come from doctors or daycare providers, but families may also call on their own for screenings. Call 887-1141 for an appointment or visit specialneedsdisabilities.org for more information.

– Reid Armstrong can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19610 or rarmstrong@skyhidailynews.com.


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