Being a kid is fun – running, biking and seemingly endless playing. Well, if your child needs help manipulating his muscles, those fun activities are more difficult for him. In our early intervention program, Babies Can’t Wait, we have physical therapists whose goals are to get kids moving. In October we are celebrating physical therapists and all they do, especially for our kids. Jacob worked with a physical therapist to realize his dreams. Here’s his story:
When her son Jacob wasn’t hitting his developmental milestones at a year old, his mom, Susan, was getting very concerned. Luckily, a social worker at the hospital where she works as a nurse suggested contacting Easter Seals North Georgia’s Babies Can’t Wait program for an evaluation.
In January 2014, at 15 months old, Jacob started physical therapy with Aimee. He was only able to roll over. Aimee worked with him and his mom one hour a week. Every week, Susan learned something new from the in-home therapy sessions. What she learned, she would implement the other six days of the week. “We worked on arm strength by laying him across my lap. I’d show him books at a level that would require him to push up on his arms,” said Susan.
Every week, Aimee had them doing something different. It’s always for the same purpose, but just a new way of working toward it. Frequently, they went outside and used his toys to play with a purpose. Their backyard has a slope perfect for working on Jacob’s ankle strength and balance. Aimee would have Jacob blow bubbles while standing on the hill, so he was working out without even realizing it. “The beauty of Babies Can’t Wait is that you can use things found in the child’s natural setting to help in the therapy,” Aimee said. For example, the step from the house to the garage was only two inches, which was a great start for tackling the broad stairs up to his room.
The family’s and Aimee’s hard work paid off in a big way. On the day of his second birthday party, Jacob walked. Remembering that moment still brings tears to Susan’s eyes. “He went from rolling around the house to walking in nine months. Nothing came easily to him. We had to manipulate his feet for him to show him how to walk,” she said.
After corrective eye surgery, Jacob’s progress accelerated. Now, at 3 1/2 is still working on his range of motion and balance. Therapies continued to focus on improving Jacob’s balance and gait. Aimee had Jacob’s family create obstacle courses for him. They set up a laundry basket, toys, and other items he would have to navigate around. His big sister loved to help not only set up the course but also to show him how to do it.
“It’s been a long road, and he’s doing really, really well. That’s all thanks to Aimee. I don’t know where we would if we didn’t have Babies Can’t Wait,” said Susan.
Aimee recognizes and appreciates the long road that Jacob and his family have traveled to get where they are today. As Jacob continues physical therapy with her on a private basis, she is confident he will achieve all his milestones. “I know he will get there. He’s just having some issues now, but I know it’ll happen. He has the support and will to do whatever he wants to,” she said.