Cydney Knapp of Redmond was filled with strength as she spoke about her son, Kuba, at Kindering’s annual graduation ceremony on August 15, 2018. When parents first arrive at Kindering, they often feel like they are the only people in the world experiencing the trials of raising a child with special needs. And indeed, they may have a child who has a condition so uncommon that it doesn’t even have a name. Kuba was born with a rare genetic mutation that has caused significant developmental delays.
“Doctors couldn’t tell us what to expect—we were told that Kuba would write his own story,” recalls Cydney. “Having a child with special needs is anything but easy. There are days where the hills you must climb seem endless and you’re not sure you can endure much more. For most of us, the road is uncertain, and we have no idea where it will take us.”
However, families quickly find hope, courage, and community at Kindering.
Kuba, now four-and-a-half years old, started coming to Kindering when he was three months old. Cydney spoke about how her son’s therapists and staff were fully committed to helping him reach his greatest potential and supported the whole family along the way. “I have worked with over 30 Kindering employees both in home, and at the Bothell and Bellevue campuses. Every interaction I have had has been incredible and I have never questioned whether my son was cared for or loved by his therapists and teachers.”
This year Kindering celebrated its 56th graduating class, comprised of 677 three-year-old graduates speaking 50 different home languages (Kindering’s entire clientele speaks more than 90 languages). Forty of this year’s graduates call Woodinville home. It also marked CEO Mimi Siegel’s 40th and final graduation ceremony, as she prepares to retire at the end of this year.
Kindering served 4,455 families in 2017, an 8 percent increase over the year prior and a trend that continues in 2018. Enrollment has steadily risen since opening a Bothell campus in 2014, and most recently, a third campus in Renton in October of 2017, which notably expanded access and deepened services for South King County families.
Early treatment of developmental difficulties makes a life-changing difference for children. Eighty-five percent of brain development occurs in a child’s first three years of life, making it a crucial window for providing infants and toddlers with special needs the best chance for success later in life. Thanks to Kindering and other early intervention centers, kids like Kuba are soaring into bright futures.