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Nathan

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

 Nathan's story

Nathan (Nate) Dunkle was born on June 9, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.  I had a very uneventful pregnancy without any indication of Nate having any problems or differences.  He was intubated in the delivery room and spent his first month in the hospital.  Nate was given a trach at 10 days old.  He was able to be decannulated in March of 2012 after a series of craniofacial surgeries to his mid face and jaw areas which allowed more room for his airway and brought his tongue forward.  In October of 2015 Nate was given another trach after he failed a sleep study.  He grew into the space that was made by the craniofacial surgeries when he was a toddler.  Nate is g-tube fed and wears glasses and bone anchored hearing aids (BAHAS) and is legally deaf and blind.  Nate can walk with the assistance of a walker and also uses a wheelchair for mobility.  He also has an adapted bike which he loves to pedal himself!  Despite his medical issues and limitations, Nate lives a very full life!  He has 3 brothers who keep him busy and whom he loves!  He also goes to a special needs school and receives occupational, physical, speech, vision and hearing therapies there.  He loves to go to school and is very friendly and affectionate.  They call him the mayor at school because he is always smiling, hugging, shaking hands and giving high fives!  Nate loves people and socializing and he loves to play with cars and balls.  Nate has scoliosis and kyphosis which may need to be operated on in the future but he stays very healthy in general.  He is rarely sick and thankfully has only been hospitalized for scheduled procedures.   Nate is non-verbal but is working on using a dynavox device for communication and is pretty good at gesturing and using non-verbal communication.  Nate has been a joy in our life and has taught all of us so much!

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