Born with Down syndrome, Beckett has put in hours of physical and occupational therapy to achieve milestones like eating, walking and talking. Despite the challenges his disorder may cause, he never complains or quits trying. He attacks each day with his signature smile and positive spirit, making those around him proud.
Beckett loves to play chase, wrestle and climb on things. He also enjoys learning sign language, which helps him communicate with others. He already knows 250 signs!
Beckett has 5 sisters! While this may seem like a lot to manage, Beckett is one lucky brother. He’s the only one who doesn’t have to share a bedroom, clothes or toys!
Beckett’s story: Dubbed the mayor of Indian Trail Elementary School, Beckett Christy is known for his hard work ethic and positive spirit in and outside of the classroom. While being born with Down syndrome has posed some challenges for Beckett, it hasn’t stopped his natural charisma from shining through.
Brittany and Shon Christy thought they knew what to expect at their fourth child’s 20-week ultrasound. But, when the results showed their son had Down syndrome, they were anything but prepared.
“I came home from the doctor’s office and immediately started googling his diagnosis which, I will tell anyone with any type of diagnosis, that is not the thing to do,” said Brittany Christy, Beckett’s mom. “I feel like I held my breath throughout my entire pregnancy because I was so worried about him, but once I held him, I was at ease.”
Prior to his arrival, Beckett’s dad reached out to other families who had children with Down syndrome for insight. Overwhelmingly, he learned early intervention would be critical with helping Beckett achieve developmental milestones.
Beckett was born full-term and immediately began meeting with his pediatrician and therapists to support his disorder. For the next 3 years, Beckett came to Akron Children’s for physical and occupational therapy twice a month, and speech and feeding therapy once a week.
In physical therapy, he worked on building strength, balance and coordination to improve his independence. In occupational therapy, he strived to improve his ability to sit up, crawl and grasp objects. His feeding therapy focused on movement of his tongue to help with bottle and cup drinking, chewing and swallowing techniques to reduce aspiration or choking.
“He had to work so much harder than my girls to achieve infant milestones,” said Brittany. “I finally realized that Beckett didn’t see it that way. He did his best week after week, never complaining or keeping track of how long it took him. He was just proud of what he’d achieve and so were we.”
Communication became the next big hurdle for Beckett. While his parents and therapists worked with him on sounds and sight words, an aide at preschool taught him sign language. By 6 months old, Beckett was using sign language to communicate. Today, he knows more than 250 signs. “We wanted to arm him with as many tools as we could, as soon as could,” said Brittany. “Sign language really helps minimize frustration and helps us all better understand what we need or want from each other.”
At age 3, Beckett’s parents noticed his irregular breathing at night so they met with Akron Children’s Sleep Center for an evaluation. Beckett’s sleep study test revealed he had sleep apnea, a sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. Becket was fitted for an oxygen apparatus and wore it at night while he slept.
When Beckett started kindergarten, he became a frequent visitor of the emergency room for respiratory issues. Beckett was soon referred to pulmonology for a breathing test and was diagnosed with asthma. “Dr. (Heather) Strawbridge is a godsend,” said Brittany. “She keeps a close eye on Beckett’s sleep apnea and helps us keep his asthma under control. It helps, too, that Beckett thinks she’s great so he doesn’t mind going for a visit.”
Beckett has grown out of his sleep apnea so he no longer needs oxygen when he sleeps. He manages his asthma at home with inhalers and at school with support from school health nurse, Miss Heather. Beckett also continues to work hard in therapy at school, learns sign language with his intervention specialist and practices speech with a private tutor.
“Beckett may have to work harder at some things, but he’s naturally kind and caring to others which is what we expect from all of our kids,” added Brittany.
Teams paired with Beckett:
- Kent Roosevelt
- St. Ignatius
- St. Vincent
- Walsh Jesuit
- Westerville Central