Intensive Physical Therapy Program – Meet Abby
Abby was born prematurely at 27 weeks with a diagnosis of Dandy Walker Syndrome and agenesis of the corpus collosum. She has a complex medical history involving visual impairments, delays with eating and feeding, and multiple surgeries for cranial remodeling.
Despite her medical complications, Abby has always been motivated to move and explore. She wants to play and keep up with her siblings. Abby has a delightful personality and sense of humor.
Abby completed five intensive therapy sessions. In her first session in 2019, she started to walk with a less supportive walker so she was doing more of the work by herself. By her third intensive in August 2020, Abby was taking independent steps.
Abby’s fourth and fifth intensives focused on Abby walking without an assistive device all the time, balance training, building her endurance and negotiating playground play.
Abby is now attending kindergarten in the same school as her siblings. Abby loves to cheer for her brothers and sister at ball games. Abby also plays on an adaptive baseball team in the summer.
Developmental Feeding Therapy – Meet Kennedy
Kennedy was born at 24 weeks gestation weighing 1 pound 3 ounces. Due to her extreme prematurity and underdeveloped lungs, she had a tracheostomy placed to help her breathe. Kennedy had multiple medical complications and surgeries resulting in her spending the first 437 days of her life in the neonatal intensive care unit. Kennedy was diagnosed with necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) resulting in short gut syndrome. This impacts Kennedy’s nutrition and absorption of foods. Kennedy has had her trach removed; however, her vocal cords were damaged. Kennedy primarily communicates via sign and an assistive communication device. Because of her complex medical history, Kennedy has an aversion to eating as well as delayed oral motor skills.
Kennedy’s first year of life was not typical. She didn’t have the opportunity to learn, play and explore with her hands and mouth like most children so she was very resistant to exploring foods when starting therapy in 2020. After participating in developmental feeding therapy, Kennedy now initiates exploration of a variety of foods with her hands and mouth. She is interested in eating and enjoys sitting at the table with her family and peers for snacks and mealtimes. Kennedy is now eating purees’ and starting to feed herself with a spoon. She will place dissolvables into her mouth (she loves salty things) and moves food side to side in her mouth. She is learning how to chew foods and that swallowing foods is safe.
Kennedy’s oral motor skills are improving with therapy. She can make music with horns and whistles as well as blow bubbles from a wand. A major milestone that Kennedy missed through the years was making a birthday wish as she was too weak to blow out a candle. Kennedy learned how to blow out a candle for the first time to celebrate her 5th birthday.
Intensive Physical Therapy Program – Mason’s Story
When Mason first arrived to SLC’s intensive physical therapy program in 2021, he was a 9 year old boy with cerebral palsy who had always relied on the use of his walker to get around. Before his first intensive, he could take roughly 10 steps before losing his balance. At the end of the 5-week intensive, he was walking up to 95 steps on his own! He also began that intensive only being able to pedal an adapted tricycle forward for 1-2 revolutions. At the end of the intensive he could advance the tricycle well over 300 consecutive cycles, and even sang along to country music songs while riding! He now rides his trike around the cul-de-sac of his home with his brothers!
Seven months later, Mason completed his second intensive. At the end of his second intensive, Mason could walk over 1,000 feet before losing his balance.
After Mason’s third physical therapy intensive, he could walk nearly 2,000 feet before losing his balance, and could even pick up a 5-6 pound object from the ground and carry it across a room.
Today, Mason’s family has put the walker away in storage. He now walks everywhere in his school, home, and community.