Tag Archives: Physical Therapy

A Village of Heroes

The following is a letter written from a parent of an Early Childhood Intervention client to the director of the Easter Seals Greater Houston program.

“Good afternoon Ms. Dena Day, 

Hope all is well. It’s been a while since I last emailed you about the phenomenal work this agency has continued to bring to our family. The Early Childhood Intervention Program (ECI) under Easter Seals Greater Houston has so many diamonds that need to be highlighted over and over. Roshanda, Melissa, Thein, Michelle, and Marlene have been consistent with their work which showed our family how dedicated they are to their families. Individually and as a team, we witness their extraordinary work ethic every day that Za’karri receives services. This group of therapists and a nutritionist has stood by the Easter Seals‘ mission which is to “provide exceptional services to ensure that all people with disabilities and their families have equal opportunities to live, learn, work and play in their communities” Thank you Easter Seals Greater Houston for lending our family these delightful caring professionals to represent your agency and to help Za’karri thrive for success. Many of the therapists and the nutritionist have been incorporated into our family life since Za’karri was 5-month-old. 

Za’karri will be turning 3 years old this month. Writing this letter has made me very emotional. Sadly, our family’s time with ECI is coming to a close. We as humans face many changes in life and they are not always bad, this end will help us embark with all of the tools the therapists provided to us throughout the years. Za’karri has been seeing 3 therapists every 2 to 3 weeks and 1 Nutritionist monthly since 2019. Countless sessions over the years. Seeing these professionals for so long must be called “Za’karri’s Village of Heroes” The knowledge we obtained will allow us to support our little one in his new journey without his village. We as a family will make sure we continue to help him strive for greatness. We will not allow his underlying challenges to control his way of living or his enjoyment of the years to come. 

Our family is so grateful to be able to have each of these therapists/nutritionists be a part of his journey. This unique individual is so blessed to have so many people cheer him on, words can’t even express it. It’s because of you all that Za’karri has SOARED for greatness. His family is able to provide continuous support by incorporating the knowledge and tools the ECI team provided in weekly sessions. 

Za’karri’s village of a team highlighted impact and moments: 

When Melissa first met Za’karri at 5 months he couldn’t hold his head straight due to torticollis. Za’karri couldn’t roll over, crawl, or walk. Melissa identified that Za’karri had some developmental delays that were shown on his initial assessment. Our family is so grateful for the ECI assessment tool which identified Za’karri’s developmental delays early on. Without this agency, I wouldn’t know what to look for in any development delays, head tilt, or sensory processing disorder. 

Melissa has been providing therapy to Za’karri the longest and has been a great observer and excellent Physical Therapist. Melissa suggested many things that she felt would help Za’karri such as sensory activities, compression clothes, a compression vest for tiptoeing, and Wilbarger Brushing for sensory which is helping with my son’s progress. She also suggested that Za’karri would benefit from Speech and Occupational Therapy. Physical therapy with Melissa has allowed Za’karri to climb up steps, jump, run, and he can now do a sideways front forward roll. With the physical therapist’s assistance, he can now do all this and more. 

Melissa, Physical Therapist assisting and supporting Za’karri during his climbing exercise

We are trying to help him with W-sitting which is a challenge but we are still working to address it. Melissa has sent a referral to see Orthotics to observe his lower extremity orthoses to address the excessive pronation bilaterally. 

Thein is an awesome Nutritionist and is one of a kind. If you want someone to make sure your child has the right nutrients and to stay on track with a healthy diet and weight gain then Thein is your person. We had many challenges working with Za’karri trying many foods and touching items due to his SPD. We were able to work through some things such as making sure we put small portions of food on his plate. 

We have started incorporating Za’karri to assist with meal prep which he loves. Za’karri is still a work in progress in this area. He is still drinking PediaSure to maintain weight and to get the protein nutrients his little body needs. He is still not eating a variety of vegetables or fruits, but we are still exposing him to these items. Having SPD is very challenging when it comes to the low motor tones in his mouth which are very sensitive to touch. We have come a long way and getting to a point to at least kiss some of the fruit to at least get him to taste a little rather than no interaction. Za’karri loves to incorporate activities into his sessions. 

Michelle came along later but just in time to help this little one to overcome his challenges. When Michelle started working with Za’karri on his speech he was 1.5 years old. Za’karri was using non-verbal cues to communicate in sessions with Michelle. He was almost 2 years old and saying very few words and echoing and repeating the same word over and over. Over the months Michelle suggested incorporating sensory bins to help with his progression in speech. Michelle stated that to be successful in his speech we need to address his sensory needs. Michelle has been an asset ever since Za’karri had his tongue tie clip which help Za’karri progress more in speech. Michelle incorporates a z- vibe to help with tongue movement to speak. I’m proud to say that when Za’karri turned two he was incorporating three-word sentences and not echoing word for word. Za’karri is doing great in saying the alphabet as well as numbers from 1 to 20. 

Michelle, Speech Therapist, incorporating a food play activity along with speech interaction 

Marlene is the Occupational Therapist that has been working with Za’karri for the last couple of months. Marlene has been a delight to work with in addressing Za’karri’s sensory needs. Marlene has included food play activities with fun animal activities that he enjoys. This area of expertise has been a challenge for Za’karri he had a couple of therapists in OT. This one was different we had only Zoom visits which at the time was the only available option. I agreed with this option I felt he could still benefit from this service. Za’karri still have issues with wet textures, variety of foods he still doesn’t eat, along with sensory seeking behaviors in different environments. We still have concerns but will continue to focus more attention to address them in the future. 

Za’karri Favorite food play activity with Zoom call with Marlene, Occupational Therapist. 

Roshanda is a vital part of this team as the case manager. By providing supervision, guidance and leadership Roshanda allows this village to soar high for my family and others. Roshanda provided support when I was not satisfied with a certain situation it was resolved quickly and with integrity so Za’karri could still receive his services without any interruption. Roshanda has also stepped in supporting and functioning as a case manager and providing assistance with available resources and helpful information. 

While working with this village of heroes, I have learned how all the milestones overlap/connect and how all the therapist roles are very important and different but are all needed. Learning from a team of professionals allowed our family to be able to help Za’karri to the fullest. 

Their knowledge of food selection, hands-on activities techniques, and being flexible with my work schedule does not go unnoticed. They all love their work, care about the children they serve and are very compassionate to parents’ concerns and feelings. When times were overwhelming for me and my family the ladies provided a listening ear while staying professional and never crossing boundaries. It felt good as a parent to have this village of professionals who have always been kind and respectful. Having these types of diamonds around will surely have a successful impact on your organization for years to come. 

Za’karri experienced some regression but with the help of all the team working together and keeping each other in the loop, Za’karri has improved and accomplished many of his goals. Without these ladies and the Early Childhood Intervention Program, I’m not sure where my son would be today. The ladies have provided me and my family with the knowledge of how all the components connect on helping Za’karri succeed through any challenging times he may face. They have helped our family to communicate with our daycare provider so they can incorporate some of the work we are doing with Za’karri. 

Dena, the last six months have been a journey of success. I just wanted to let you know how awesome your Early Childhood Intervention team has been to Za’karri. 

Thank you, I know behind a good team there is always an amazing leader. A team cannot function without the guidance and support that you have been providing for your staff. On behalf of me and my family, thank you. 

With the help of the village of heroes’ tools and support, Za’karri will learn to function with his sensory processing disorder and will continue to adapt to his environment for many years to come. 

Thank you, 

Za’karri and family” 

Are you concerned about your baby’s development? Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Early Childhood Intervention services are available for children birth to 36 months who show a developmental delay, who are at risk for a delay, have a disability or atypical behaviors. Learn more.

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Striving Sisters

“Both of my daughters were referred to Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Early Childhood Intervention Infant Program for physical therapy from their Orthopedic surgeon following surgeries, casting, and bracing for both girls to correct bilateral club foot. “A” and “E” have made tremendous progress reaching their developmental milestones with the help of their ECI therapists and service coordinator over the last year. The physical therapist has helped to show me activities to strengthen their ankles and feet and both “A” and “E” are so motivated during sessions. At 14 months age adjusted, “A” started taking her first independent steps this month and now she’s walking everywhere! “E” is very close to walking on her own, she is walking with little help and her push toy, and she is so motivated to stand and look at her favorite books. I am so proud of how strong both girls are and am excited to see how they continue to grow and learn with the help of Easter Seals Greater Houston ECI.”

-“A” and “E” mom 

The time from birth to age three is critical in your child’s physical and cognitive development.  To help make sure your baby is reaching their developmental milestones, you can complete this free Ages & Stages Questionnaire or check with your pediatrician if you have concerns. Learn more about Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Early Childhood Intervention Program!

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Paving the Way with Belief and Hard Work

Greta Cherry and Jamie Hodges at Hats Off To Mothers Luncheon

The following was shared by Jamie Hodges, DPT in response to Greta Cherry, an incredible friend and fellow physical therapist, retiring. Cheers to the amazing and unstoppable Greta Cherry who retired from our Infant Program after nearly 50 years of service to the babies in our community. Greta has left her mark on countless children and their families, black women following in her profession, and most definitely on all of us who worked with her at Easter Seals Greater Houston.

“When I graduated from PT school, our class had more African American students than any other class. All of the classes prior to us had 1 maybe 2 black students …..for many years until our class which had 5. We were excited and proud that we had made it into the program especially when we all graduated. 

In all my training as a physical therapy technician, student and even when I stepped into my career to encounter another black physical therapist, was rare and then to meet one that was older than me was even more rare. To be honest, I had never met another black physical therapist who was older than me until I met Mrs. Greta and Mrs. Priscilla. When I met her and shadowed her to determine if I wanted to work for Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Early Childhood Intervention Program, I was in awe. I listened to everything she said and I took every word in! 

I don’t know why I wanted to share this with you…I guess because her impact goes beyond Easter Seals Greater Houston… I am grateful for her journey into this profession.  She paved the way for women like me.” -Jamie Hodges, DPT

Read Mrs. Greta’s heartfelt thank you note reflecting on her time as a physical therapist with Easter Seals Greater Houston and how her legacy will live on.

“I know I should have sent this thank you sooner, but having to write and send it seems so final. I found myself delaying ‘thank you’ to everyone at Easter Seals this time because it makes me so sad, it seems like the end of such an important part of my life. I had to come to the realization, I will no longer be a physical therapist and no longer work for Easter Seals. Change is hard and a final change is harder.

I want to say first, I am very thankful to have been able to work and be a part of Easter Seals for 48 years. I can look back for the rest of my life and have no regrets about my career choice. I was blessed to get my first job to be able to work with children and fulfill my dream to come true.

During all these years, I was given so much support that helped me grow to increase my knowledge and develop my skills. I was given the opportunity to serve as Supervisor of Physical Therapy for many years.

I have made so many wonderful friends, had the chance to work with some of their children. I consider all to be my family.

It has not all been work, I have had so much fun attending lots of fabulous parties, fundraisers, traveling and even getting to meet lots of famous people like [Congresswoman] Barbara Jordan. I celebrated my “30th”, “40th”, “50th”, “60th” and “70th” birthdays at Easter Seals.

I want to thank everyone for contributing to my retirement tribute. It was beautiful. I get teary-eyed every time I watch it.

Thank you so much for all the gifts and financial support. The crown is sooo beautiful. I placed it so it can be the center of attention in my home. As a matter of fact my living room is covered with beautiful gifts I have received over the years. The icing on my cake (my career) was the “Greta Cherry Award.” It was so unexpected and I feel so honored. I truly thank all those who initiated the thought of honoring me in such a special way.

It is an achievement given to me that I can celebrate knowing that I will be remembered for a long time even after I am gone. I could not ask for more. This honor came while I am living to see it. Thank you! Thank you!

May God continue to bless Easter Seals with success and growth as it serves so many people and provides for their needs.

I was around to see so many changes. Believing in what you are doing and working hard is what Easter Seals is all about.

Love you all!!!

Greta H. Cherry”

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Thriving, Sassy and Healthy!

The following blog was written by a parent of two daughters in Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) Program:

Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Early Childhood Intervention Program has been extremely beneficial and rewarding for my children. My 2-year-old daughter started doing therapy with ECI when she was 7 months old. She couldn’t walk, talk or even roll over very well and she wasn’t sitting up at all.

Today, she is a THRIVING, SASSY, and very HEALTHY 2-year-old that can do almost everything the doctors said she would struggle doing. Her progress is definitely thanks to Easter Seals Greater Houston!! I am so thankful for her team of ECI therapists and the time and dedication they have put into making sure my KaMaya and her little sister Kamoura are at their very best.

Kamoura does physical therapy with ECI as well and has come a long way. Even though we are working on posture and walking, I have confidence that over the next few months, she will also be above and beyond what the doctors doubts she could do.

We have definitely enjoyed the relationships that have been built between my kids and their ECI therapists. I have appreciated the kindness and understanding that is always shown to my family, especially during the COVID19 pandemic. We are looking forward to seeing more progress with our girls in the next few months! God bless you all!

Special thanks to KaMaya and Kamoura’s ECI Team: Early Intervention Specialist Sarah Summers, Physical Therapist Ms. Charisse, Occupational Therapists Ms. Shama and Ms. Christy, SST teacher Ms. Kim, Nutritionist Ms. Tien, and Speech therapist Ms. Gretchen.

The time from birth to age three is critical in your child’s physical and cognitive development.  To help make sure your baby is reaching their developmental milestones, you can complete this free Ages & Stages Questionnaire or check with your pediatrician if you have concerns.  Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Early Childhood Intervention is accepting referrals and offers tele-health as well as in-home services. Learn more!

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Hand in Hand Therapies

The following was written by a parent of an Early Childhood Intervention client to Easter Seals Greater Houston’s ECI Director.

Hello I am the parent of “Z” who has been in the Easter Seals Greater Houston’s program about year and half now. Just to provide you with a little background of this little fellow. “Z” has faced with many challenges in his year and half-life but he is a true solider and overcoming slowly.  “Z” was referred by his Pediatrician to Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) Program, because of torticollis at the age of 5 months. He is now 20 months; and he still deals with his “head tilt” from time to time. He was assigned to Melissa for Physical Therapy and from his assessment it indicated he had some developmental delays.  He showed unbelievable progress while working with Melissa over a year and half, which has eased some of my trying times with my little one. “Z” is currently working with several ESGH ECI Therapists

Melissa has been providing therapy with my “Z” the longest and has been a great observer and excellent Physical Therapist provider. Melissa has suggested many things that she felt would help my son such as sensory activities, compression clothes, compression vest for tip-toeing, Wilbarger Brushing for sensory; all of which is helping with my son’s progress. She also suggested I speak with Jinelle about referring my son to Occupational Therapy for behavior issues that stem from sensory input along with Speech Therapy to continue meeting his milestones. Melissa also helped with sending me educational materials, head-tilt strengthening techniques, and showed me strategies to implement daily to help my son with crawling and walking. Most importantly, she educated me on how the 5 stages of developmental milestones are reached and how some delays affect the next milestones when they are not met. Not only allowing me to know that my son is progressing but also in addressing my pediatrician.

The reason for this letter is to let you know how wonderful your team at Easter Seals has been to my family and most importantly to my son “Z”.   I have so much gratitude to Easter Seals and this team of ladies that words can’t explain. Jinelle (Case manager), Thein (Nutritionist), Melissa (PT), Dionise (OT), and Michelle (Speech) are a blessing. This village of a team has improved my son’s ability to function and adapt to the daily challenges he faces with delayed milestones, sensory and speech issues.

Working with the team of therapists, I have learned how all the milestones overlap/connect and how all the therapist’s roles are important, different and needed. Learning from the therapists allowed me to help my son to the fullest. Their knowledge on food selection, hands on activities techniques and being flexible with my work schedule do not go unnoticed. They all love their work, the children they serve, and they are very compassionate to parents concerns and feeling. When times were overwhelming for us, the therapists provide a listening ear while staying professional and never crossing boundaries. It felt good as a parent to have this village of professionals ease my emotions.

This team has been around since day one with my son.  Jinelle has been a great case manager by providing helpful resources, connecting me to the appropriate specialists, providing me access to the weighted vest and sensory brush, and by being able to address other issues.  Jinelle is the glue that holds this team together and the person making sure services are on time.  Thein is awesome for making sure my child has the right nutrients and is staying on track with a healthy diet and weight gain.  She suggests food selections and fluid consumptions for “Z” to help with being underweight, and helps with mapping out mealtime scheduling suggestion for home and daycare.

Dionise and Michelle are new specialists incorporated to “Z”’s treatment services for the past 3 months. Mostly virtual due to #StayAtHome. They were recently able to see “Z” in person for the first time.  The total team is a completion of comfort. The comfort that my child will be able to thrive, and has the potential to maintain and overcome many of the behaviors that have led to sensory overloads and speech delays.  Everything goes hand in hand.  Sensory needs to be under control so “Z” can succeed in his vocabulary words, which will help him in talking and we have incorporated sensory bins into daily life, and pretend play with stuffed animals to help “Z” communicate with non-verbal and verbal cues to extend his communication. We started with 10 words and currently working towards 25 and more.

“Z” has come a long way – we are moving in the right direction but still have work to do.  “Z” took to Dionise the first time he saw her on zoom and even in person so much that he didn’t want her to leave. It was so funny that as we walked her to the door – he was waving bye to ME!  Together we are also working with my son on behavior techniques – less screen time, incorporating compression clothing all day, and weighted vest/blanketed. This team is compassionate, caring, flexible and dedicated to their line of work by providing exceptional hands on/Zoom support through teaching and providing me the knowledge to continue to work with my son through this challenging time.

Since the pandemic and throughout treatment, my son experiences some regression in each individual session but with the help of all therapist working together and keeping each other in the loop, my son has improved meeting milestones. These ladies are not just doing their job they are taking the initiative to go above and beyond for the families they serve while still following protocols of the company.

Without this Easter Seals team and the ECI program, I’m not sure where my son would be. On behalf of my family Thank You!  

Z’s Mom

Early Childhood Intervention services are available to children from birth to three (3) years old that show developmental delay, at risk for delay, or have a disability. Learn more about Easter Seals Greater Houston’s ECI Program today.

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“Running” In the Right Direction

We had the privilege of joining Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Early Childhood Intervention Infant Program in December 2019. My daughter was around 13-months-old and was unable to sit up, feed herself, or communicate at all. Her pediatrician was concerned about her lack of progress and recommended that I look into Easter Seals Greater Houston.

Easter Seals immediately got me in for an evaluation and promptly had me set up with a case worker named Sarah Summers that works in the Infant Program. Based on our income we were given the general cost for her therapies (before insurance). I cannot emphasize enough how relieved we were to hear this! We now knew the price it would cost, instead of dreading a bunch of medical bills piling up. Together, we decided she needed 5 different therapies/therapists to guide us as to what to do to help our daughter. Each time we saw one of her therapists they came up with new exercises for us to practice with her until we saw that therapist again. We immediately started seeing results! Over the next six months she had progressed in all levels. We actually started to not need some of the therapies/therapists because they had done an amazing job and she was no longer struggling in that area. Our biggest area of concern, when starting the program, was her lack of movement. Once we started working with Easter Seals ECI Program she was able to sit up within a month, crawling in 2-3 months, and by 6 months was able to walk. This is beyond what we could have expected!

Currently, my daughter is speaking and understanding all sorts of words and phrases. She feeds herself at every meal and is basically “running” to keep up with her big brother. Without Easter Seals ECI Program none of this would have been possible. For us as parents, we were at a loss as to what to do to help our child. Easter Seals helped guide us in very specific ways to get her moving in the right direction and I am so grateful to have been a part of this wonderful program.      

-Lindsay F

Tracking your child’s development can be difficult for the most attentive parent. Easter Seals Greater Houston’s ECI Program is still providing all services via tele-therapy including evaluations. Call Alicia at 713.838.9050 ext. 385 to schedule a free evaluation and to check on your child’s milestones.

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The Triumph of a Family Meal

The following was written by Doris whose son, Edgar, participates in Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Children’s Therapy Program.

“We wanted to have a family meal where everyone was sharing a nice homemade meal. Sounds pretty easy, but it wasn’t. We sought out a food therapy program to help with Edgar’s limited diet, his overeating tendencies, and his textural sensibilities. When Easter Seals Greater Houston started offering food therapy, we quickly signed Edgar up for it because there would be no force feeding involved, a big plus for my sweet sensitive child!

I have noticed that after starting the food therapy program with Alysia, Edgar has gone from eating a handful of foods to at least trying out different foods I never thought would be possible. I never expected results in such a short amount of time. Lettuce, strawberries, and even hamburger meat? Those foods seemed like a long shot…a goal for the long run. Yet here we are, months into the food therapy program and my child is opening up! Suddenly, sharing the same nice homemade meal with the family doesn’t seem as far-fetched as I had imagined last year!

I can honestly say that the food therapy in combination with other therapies including his occupational therapy with Alysia, Speech Therapy with Miaya, Ingrid with Music, his kindergarten teacher, his school assigned case worker, and even his school principal have all helped propel my son forward. Alysia, I can’t thank you enough! Your creativity and your patience with Edgar has shown in many areas and now with Food therapy, you have given us a gift our family will always cherish.

Food is family and love!”

-Doris, Children’s Therapy Program Parent

Would you like to know more about how Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Children’s Therapy Program? We have incredible resources including speech, occupational and physical therapy. Learn more today.

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“I Love You” – Music to Mom’s Ears

The following success stories were shared by parents of our Early Childhood Intervention Infant Development Program.

Thanks to Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Early Childhood Intervention Program (ECI), my son, Josue, recently started saying his first words and that means so much to our family! Thanks to the wonderful therapists for helping parents to understand our children’s needs and showing us the ways that we can help even outside of therapy sessions.  My son now tells me he loves me and those words are everything to me.   – Josue’s Mom


Benjamin and Ciara are a true success story with an early start of life. Coming into the world on 4/17/2018 at 27 weeks, Ciara weighing 1.7 pounds. and Benjamin, 1.3 pounds. They had their challenges while in the hospital, but were finally released 7 months later. The family would need a team of specialists to assist them with the care of the twins and so they began ECI services with Easter Seals Greater Houston in April of 2019. A team made up of Physical, Occupational, Nutrition, Specialist Skills, Speech therapy, Nursing staff, and lots of family came together to be their network of support. The twins are now walking and have successfully graduated from Physical therapy services. The twins are still being fed by G-Tube and working towards learning how to orally fed. The team is still working together on their current goals to get them on their developmental level. The family is optimistic about what the future holds for their babies!

Use slider below to see how Benjamin and Ciara have grown!

It has now been four months of #StayAtHome.  That is around the same amount of time your baby/toddler reaches new milestones. Are you keeping a checklist? Are you watching for the next great milestone reached?  Your baby, who might have been five months at the start of #StayAtHome, now at nine months should be standing while holding on, can get into sitting position, sits without support, pulls to stand and crawls.  

Learn more about our Make The First Five Count Campaign and how to ensure your child is meeting their milestones.

Easter Seals Greater Houston’s ECI Program is still providing all services via tele-therapy including evaluations. Call Alicia at 713.838.9050 ext. 385 to schedule a free evaluation and to check on your child’s milestones.

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Celebrating Warrior Princess Ava

Ava spent the first 63 days of her life in the NICU, as a little heart warrior, fighting for her life. Today, Ava is an adorable little princess, delighting everyone with her sweet smile. This story is a celebration of her victory over those first battles, and the battles she continues to face.

At five months pregnant, Ava’s mom, Mikki, learned Ava had a congenital heart defect (CHD).  Two weeks later, Mikki found that the heart condition was much more severe than initially thought.  When taking a class about her daughter’s upcoming stay in the NICU, Mikki’s water broke.  She spent the next 32 days in the hospital, on bedrest, until Ava was born at 33 weeks.  The cause of her heart defect was determined at about one week old. Ava was diagnosed with 22.q.11 chromosome deletion (DiGeorge Syndrome), “the most common, uncommon syndrome”.  Ava struggled with feeding and sleeping issues, as she fought to gain enough weight to have her first heart surgery at one month old.  Ava continued to deal with feeding and sleeping concerns, trying to gain weight, for another month after her surgery.  At 2 months old, Ava was discharged to go home.  Staff from the hospital gave her mom a pamphlet about ECI (Early Childhood Intervention), which Mikki dismissed at first.

Ava’s first few months at home were a difficult physical and mental adjustment for her whole family.  An autoimmune condition was revealed, which meant Ava was not strong enough to receive immunizations, and needed to be separated from her 3-year-old sister. Her pediatrician also followed up on the hospital’s suggestion, and recommended ECI. At six months old, Easter Seals Greater Houston started providing ECI services.  Ava received PT (Physical Therapy), OT (Occupational Therapy), SST (Specialized Skills Training), and Case Management. Nutrition was added for two months due to Ava needing to gain weight for a second surgery, which Ava was able to have at 8 months old.  Even though the surgery was considered “a full repair”, she will need more surgeries when she’s older, as her heart grows, for maintenance and additional repairs.  According to her mom, after the second surgery, “we came home with a new baby”. Ava had more energy, and overcame her eating and sleeping struggles. With her new-found energy and ECI’s therapy sessions, “everything fell into place”.

Ava started to crawl at one year old and mom states, “she was the fastest crawling baby I ever saw in my life”. She walked at 25 months old and developed her hand (fine motor) skills. Aided by SMOs (Supra-malleolar orthosis), which give her stability needed as a late walker, Ava now runs!  Ava communicates by pointing, showing what she wants, and using about 30 signs. “Ava has no problem getting her needs known. She’s following her own road, doing milestones in the right progression.” In the fall, Ava will attend the PPCD class with Montgomery ISD, and continue to receive PT and OT services, as well as adding Speech Therapy services from Easter Seals ECI Program.

When asked about how Easter Seals Early Childhood Intervention helped, Mikki reported: “I didn’t know what to do before ECI.  They guided me through her condition and what needed to be done first.  Every therapy was building on what needed to happen next.  ECI also encouraged her big sister to participate.  The therapists gave ideas on how to incorporate the two girls to do daily activities together, and how to make one-on-one time with her big sister.  I couldn’t have done it without them.”

Her mom added: “Thinking that Ava would need therapy was hard for me to accept, but God gave me this child, and it was my job to give her what she needed to be successful.  Ava’s an amazing, sweet little girl, who has taught me so much.  They call heart babies ‘heart warriors’ because they fight battles they don’t even know they have to fight.”  Ava truly is, the perfect combination of warrior and princess.

It has now been four months of #StayAtHome.  That is around the same amount of time your baby/toddler reaches new milestones. Are you keeping a checklist? Are you watching for the next great milestone reached?  Your baby, who might have been five months at the start of #StayAtHome, now at nine months should be standing while holding on, can get into sitting position, sits without support, pulls to stand and crawls.  

Learn more about our Make The First Five Count Campaign and how to ensure your child is meeting their milestones.

Easter Seals Greater Houston’s ECI Program is still providing all services via tele-therapy including evaluations. Call Alicia at 713.838.9050 ext. 385 to schedule a free evaluation and to check on your child’s milestones.

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The Staff that Works Magic

Our Easter Seals staff is amazing! We are so proud of the work they do daily.  This is regarding a client in many of our programs that has Down syndrome, vision impairment and is on the autism spectrum. His mother also happens to be our BridgingApps Program Director.

“I have recently started working with Vincent on his knee,  He has had a subluxed patella four times, and the last one being the worst.  When I evaluated Vincent, he was very shy and didn’t want to participate or engage in physical therapy. CTP 1st Vincent pic 1 We did the evaluation in the hall outside of the PT gym, because that was as close as we could get him at the time.  I talked to him, reassured him, and made fun games out of the evaluation.  We finally got him in the gym to work on the mat.  Mom was concerned about him lying on the floor because this is not something he willingly does at home, but I was able to make a fun game out of it, and mom participated as well.  Now the whole family is doing Vincent’s home exercise program! I have only just begun working with Vincent, and we are going at his pace for therapy.  He now calls me Ms. Streisand, and I just roll with it because kids can call me anything they want to if it will get them to work, play, and have fun!”

Watch this super cute video of Vincent in therapy!

Missy Dafler, PT, DPT, C/NDT, CKTP

Physical Therapist, Easter Seals Children’s Therapy Program

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