2016-2017 Easter Seals of the Birmingham Area Pediatric Ambassadors
Noah was born with a heart defect that caused his oxygen saturation to be very low even when he was “well”. Visible effects of this condition were that he was easily tired and his lips, fingertips, and toes were usually blue. When he turned one, he was clearly not reaching many of his milestones. He was put into Early Intervention. Early Intervention was helpful and Noah began to walk at 18 months. Before Noah turned 2, he was noticeably having body jerks throughout the day that resembled being startled. Upon seeing a Neurologist, it was discovered that Noah was having Myoclonic Seizures.
Noah stayed in Early Intervention until he was 3. He started meeting many of his missed milestones but still was behind the curve on gross and fine motor skill development. When Noah turned 4, his Cardiologist declared it was a good time to repair Noah’s heart. An attempt was made to close his heart through a catheter. Once they were to his heart, it was clear that the defect was more severe than they thought. At that time, it was determined that he would have to have open heart surgery. On October 1, 2014, his heart was repaired successfully through open heart surgery.
After surgery, some of his delays seemed to be worse. He could not hold a fork or spoon to eat properly. He could not hold a crayon to color or write. He would often have behavior such as meltdowns that didn’t make sense to us. He was more clumsy and awkward with his body. He would bump in to objects and people all the time because he did not know where his body was in space. Conventional -teaching was not working and he was not “naturally” developing skills. It was at that time that we started learning about Sensory Processing Disorder. In hind sight, it was always present with Noah. But his surgery exacerbated the condition. And through some research, we learned that Occupational Therapy could help Noah…and help us learn methods to put Noah on a successful path for life.
When we discovered Easter Seals, the therapist assigned to Noah was very knowledgeable about Sensory Processing Disorder. His therapy began immediately and Noah has met numerous missed milestones while under Rebecca’s care. She has taught us methods to deal with the SPD in order for Noah to be able to develop his gross and fine motor skills. She has also helped us learn why Noah was having meltdowns and how to avoid them or help him through the meltdown. Without this help, we would not have known how to help Noah deal with this very complex disorder. Easter Seals is important to us and to Noah’s future as he works to improve, and in some cases deal, with his Sensory Processing Disorder.
Ayden was first seen in this clinic in March of 2016. When he was born his birth weight was only one pound. Abandoned at birth by his mother, he spent the first 2 years and 10 months of his life living in Children’s of Alabama. During this time an employee of the hospital, Ms. Burns, formed an attachment to Ayden and took him as a foster child in 2015. She has since adopted Ayden and has diligently worked to get him the help he needs to reach his potential.
When Ayden first came to Easter Seals he was understandably fearful of new places and people. He spent the first 2 months of therapy in a heightened state of anxiety and was unwilling to leave his mother’s lap on most occasions. He cried continuously and would only move about the room if led by an adult. With desensitization training and repeated exposure to activities in the gym and sensory room, Ayden has become much more comfortable in the setting and will even run to the PT in the waiting room at the start of the session. He was unable to motor plan how to navigate the ladder and slide or the ball pit in the sensory room. Now he can climb the ladder by himself, position himself at the top of the slide and slide down safely with only stand-by assistance from the PT. He can climb in and out of the ball pit himself and even enjoys being in the balls, which took weeks of exposure to become accustomed to the activity due to the instability of the balls and his vision impairment. He will hold PT’s hand and lead her around to what he wants to do next. He can sit on the low platform swing and allow the PT to push him in a low arc. He demonstrates improving communication skills and now says a few words. He loves to go for walks outside and will ride the regular trike with assistance from the PT.