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Meet Payton, our 2012 Ambassador

Payton Hess is the 9-year-old son of Tanya Hess of Ottawa.  He has had a significant delay in reaching all his milestones, such as walking and talking, a delay he still has today. Because of these delays in conjunction with his low muscle tone, Payton began receiving physical and occupational therapy through early intervention services.

"This early intervention has not only strengthened his muscles, but it helped him achieve his goals and milestones," Tanya explained. "Payton began attending Easter Seals for toddler class and day care when he was 2 years old. He had the opportunity to interact with other children and begin learning in an educational setting. He also continued to receive occupational therapy and began speech therapy."

While in first grade, Payton said his first words, which ended with a short sentence. In that year, he made a two-year leap with his language development.

Recently, Payton has been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism. He also has high levels of anxiety as well as obsessive-compulsive disorder.

"He takes his role of being a big brother to his 2-year-old sister very seriously, loves to play with cars, bike, music, school and sports. He is a very happy boy, authentic and a fun child with high hopes for his future," Tanya said.

Tanya credits Easter Seals of La Salle and Bureau Counties and the interaction there with other children for enhancing Payton's verbal skills and progress.