When Rosa’s son, Lian, was born at 36 weeks following a difficult c-section, she and her husband learned that Lian had Down Syndrome. They learned that he had a heart defect. They learned that he would need many surgeries.
Understandably, it’s a lot for a family to hear all at once.
After months of waiting to meet her son, now Rosa was bringing Lian to visit cardiologists every week and visiting the hospital several times in the first months of Lian’s life.
He would undergo those surgeries and the stress that came with it. For everything the doctors did to help him live longer and grow stronger, there were also complications — blindness, allergies, blood clots, seizures, trauma.
“I kept returning to one encompassing fear,” said Rosa. “What if Lian didn’t survive?”
Overcoming the odds
But Lian did survive.
To Rosa’s Joy and relief, Lian kept reaching milestones. He accomplished so much even after undergoing two heart surgeries before his first birthday. He started crawling, then started walking. He started babbling, then started talking.
“Despite all the hardships,” said Rosa, “my son was strong. My son is strong.”
Today, Rosa describes Lian as her science boy.
“He’s so smart and so focused on what captures his attention,” she said. “Even by first grade, he was so he was so advanced, talking about the solar system and memorizing every US President in chronological order. He chases his interest, then jumps to the next one, and it’s so wonderful to see him so excited.”
In addition to Down Syndrome, Lian was also diagnosed with autism at an early age. For Lian, though, this has only proven to be a great strength. As Rosa describes it, Lian’s interests and focus helps him to learn new things and enjoy new activities, finding Joy in these special interests.
Finding Joy in music
What else does Lian love?
“I see that Joy most of all in his love for music,” said Rosa. “Lian has always liked music. As a kid, he’d drum out his own songs with make-believe instruments and his teachers always recommended music classes for him.”
That’s how Rosa and her family came to know JoyRx Music. The staff at Dell Children’s Comprehensive Care Clinic in Austin, Texas, saw his passion for music and recommended JoyRx to the family.
Lian first met Kelsey, his JoyRx Music Specialist, via online, virtual learning due to COVID-19 restrictions in hospitals. He worked with Kelsey to learn guitar and Rosa saw the change in him almost instantly.
“He picked it up so quickly!” she said. “In just 20 minutes, he was practicing with my husband and already playing better than him!”
Rosa also noticed the change in Lian’s confidence, too. Playing with Kelsey made him feel good.
“Whatever he plays, whatever he does, he is rewarded with applause and cheers and that means the world to him: Music makes him feel happy,” she said.
The lasting impact of Joy
With the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, and the establishment of live, bedside music in hospitals in Austin, Lian will be able to do in-person lessons in addition to his virtual sessions.
Rosa is grateful for everything Lian has overcome and discovered during his time learning with JoyRx Music.
“Music is his thing now,” she said. “Music is his medicine. When he’s playing, I can see his Joy.”
JoyRx Music means a lot to Rosa and her family.
“I get to see Lian, my happy boy, my interested boy, my musical boy — and I know it was the right choice,” said Rosa. “I see the love Kelsey has for the program, too, and that makes all the difference.”
For Rosa, Lian’s happiness and Joy is priceless.
“Music is part of his soul,” she said, “and through music, I can see his healing.”
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