A fun-loving 1-year-old boy from Covington, Joshua is the youngest of seven children. Ask anyone in his family, and they’ll tell you he’s always smiling, likes to play and loves giving his trademark “winkies,” better known as smiles with a wink.
Joshua’s foster mom Shana (currently working toward adoption) says that’s how it’s been from the beginning. She shares, “He’s always happy, sleeps through the night and is super sweet,” and his sisters Abigail, Olivia and Isabel agree. The three girls have proudly taken on the role of big sisters and are often referred to as his other moms.
Between his family and his team from Riverside Early Intervention (EI), Joshua is never short on support and it’s been that way since he started receiving services at 3-months-old. Born drug-exposed, Joshua had breathing difficulties, experienced seizures and had two large holes in his brain. Tests also revealed that part of his brain was missing, he was unable to see out of the right half of either eye and has weakness on the right side of his body. But it hasn’t stopped Joshua.
According to Karen Lohnes, Joshua’s physical therapist contracted through Riverside, “Joshua is a determined toddler who isn’t defined by his diagnoses. He continues to progress in all areas and is motivated to move to be with his family.”
Everyone in Joshua’s family has found a way to help him as he grows; Abigail reads to him and passes a ball with him, Olivia helps him with therapy and Isabelle feeds him. His oldest sister, Blessing, 18, always lets him sit with her while doing schoolwork, and his brothers, Noah and Isaac, play with him.
One of Joshua’s favorites is a hat game with dad, Joe. Shana says this holds Joshua’s attention and always gets him giggling.
It isn’t always games and giggles though, and the family has its trials. With regular appointments, therapy sessions at Dayton Children’s Hospital, visits with Riverside EI and the Ohio State School for the Blind, Joshua and Shana are often away from home.
It is difficult for the family, but none of them let it get them down. Surrounded by so much love, Joshua and his tight-knit family are always there to encourage one another and give each other winkies, no matter what.
"He has the cutest little giggle ever." - sister Isabelle
Video: As mom Shana and Riverside physical therapist Karen watch, Joshua uses the "Creepster Crawler" to develop his crawling technique.
Fun facts about Joshua:
Favorite food - Breakfast fruit bars
Favorite things to do - Play hat game with dad Joe, pass ball with sister Abigail, whistle his flute, color, unroll toilet paper and go outside to feel the wind and rain on his face
Has 6 Siblings - Blessing, Isaac, Isabelle, Olivia, Abigail and Noah