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Have a Heart: Meet Sayla

Published: May. 6, 2022 at 8:35 AM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - At a pediatric therapy center in Sparks, the sparkle of a little 3-year-old girl fills a treatment room. Toys surround little Sayla who just celebrated a birthday. She has an infectious spirit that you can’t help but admire.

Her therapist, Tara Olsson, says what she loves most about Sayla is her smile and laugh.

“If you get her laughing Miss Sayla will just keep laughing.”

Sayla is just like any other 3-year-old who is curious about the world around her.

“She knows what’s going on and she wants to be included,” Rachael McGarrah, Sayla’s social worker said. “Even if she may not respond in a way that you would initially think that someone at three should respond.”

In her short 3 years, Sayla has faced more obstacles than most adults, and she does it one step at a time. You see, little Sayla was born with significant health issues. But through consistent therapy, dedication and lots of encouragement, she has made remarkable progress.

“She’s a ball of life and a fighter for life, McGarrah said. “Knowing her birth story to where she is today–it just is amazing and even the fact that she keeps pushing, she never gives up when it’s hard, and is continuously trying and continuously making progress whether small or big. It’s big to us for her.”

Most recently, she has become very independent in sitting and actually being able to sit and play. She has limited vocabulary skills, but is able to communicate what she needs or wants in other ways. It hasn’t always been easy. But its the moments where she improves that make the work worth it.

“Each day in the moment you know, it might feel like okay, are we making progress?,” Olsson said. “And we then we see significant progress. So yeah, it’s really exciting.”

Sayla’s medical issues may seem daunting on paper, but those who know and love her say it just takes a moment with her to fall in love.

“Once you get to see her and see her not just on paper and see who she is as a human, a little person. You just fall for her she’s amazing little girl with so much potential.”

That potential can only grow with the right home and the right parents. Whoever adopts Sayla must know there are a number of appointments she has to help with her progress. But there’s help available and she with continue to improve with structure.

“She just keeps fighting for that new milestone, for life,” McGarrah said. “Just being consistent and making sure she gets to her appointments, doing the stuff at home. That may look different than what you would do for another 3-year-old but in reality may not take up any more time of what you would do for another 3-year-old.”

If you are interested in meeting and learning more about Sayla, contact Myra Yeargan, Case Worker, Recruitment & Training, Washoe County Human Services Agency-Children’s Division (775)560-8913 or at myeargan@washoecounty.go

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