The Lechuga Family: Laura’s progress
impressed everyone, including doctors

In 2011, Ed Lechuga was grappling with the challenges and heartbreak of having a daughter with a disability who was not progressing. “Laura has a rare condition called Aircardi Syndrome, which results in an underdeveloped brain and other issues,” says Ed of his daughter. “A year ago, when she was six months old, she couldn’t hold her head up, and I would have to hold her neck just like an infant.”

It was at that time that Ed heard about the therapeutic benefits of the warm-water pool at Abilities United. “I wanted to do whatever benefited my daughter,” says Ed. “When we started with Abilities United, they asked what our goals were. The doctors had said that if Laura wasn’t holding herself up by age two, that she would probably never walk, so getting her to hold herself up was the goal.”

Laura went through several months of aquatic therapy at Abilities United. “One day it seemed like a switch went on, and she held up her head in the pool,” says Ed, who still gets excited at the thought. “That was a tremendous step forward! Now she’s 19 months old and sitting up, and with a bit of help she can even stand in the pool.”

Other experts have been taken aback by Laura’s progress. “Our neurologist was surprised,” says Ed, “Then when the Director of the Early Start program from the San Andreas Regional Center came over for her annual check-in, she was blown away.”

“I could talk about Abilities United all day long,” says Ed. “You can see the care and expertise they have as they are working with the children. They asked me how they could improve, and I simply couldn’t think of anything. We expect to be here for years.
Based on a 2012 interview. Written by Bob Thomas, edited by Ed Lechuga and Wendy Kuehnl.