Emma's Story

Guelph-Wellington Ambassador

Sometimes being a parent with a child who has special needs can be overwhelming. Your world can be turned upside down in an instant. For Heather and Dean Clemmer, that was the case after the birth of their son Troy, who had cerebral palsy. Yet, with KidsAbility’s help, they learned that love is unconditional and found ways to celebrate his unique abilities. This approach served them well when they decided to adopt Emma, a young girl who also had cerebral palsy.

“I grew up in a foster home for six years of my life,” states Dean. “As a way of giving back, I wanted to foster or adopt a child and Heather was on the same page. We started going down the fostering road, but nothing was lining up for us. That’s when we decided to adopt.”

At eighteen months, Emma joined the Clemmer family. “If there was a way to seal the adoption, it was the discovery that she had cerebral palsy,” adds Heather. “We’d been through this before with Troy, so it wasn’t scary. Troy was excited too, as Emma had the same condition he struggled with growing up.”

From the age of two, Emma received physiotherapy, occupational therapy, augmentative therapy, speech therapy, and power chair training at KidsAbility. And she flourished. “Emma is a firecracker,” says Heather. “She is so easy for staff to work with and her determination has taken her beyond what we thought possible. It’s been such a blessing to get services at KidsAbility.”

In terms of Emma’s development, KidsAbility played an instrumental role. “We always had the love for Emma, but we didn’t have the love  
we needed from qualified therapists,” explains Heather. “We get that as a package here – the love, the acceptance and the encouragement for
Emma to succeed.”

Like her big brother Troy, we know that Emma will reach unprecedented heights – astounding even those who have come to love her.