Stories of Impact
Dylan’s enthusiasm is infectious. He works hard during his sessions with Curative Physical Therapist, Sarah. His strenuous efforts are punctuated by bubbly chatter and occasional mischief. Everyone smiles when Dylan is nearby.
Dylan was born with a rare condition that resulted in complications of his lower spine and the inability to use his legs. Curative Children’s Services has provided Physical Therapy services to Dylan since he was a baby – first in the Birth To Three Program and now in the Pediatric Outpatient Therapy Program.
Throughout his therapy, the long-term goal for Dylan has been increased mobility and independence. He has made gradual progress toward greater independence by achieving a series of short-term goals that require steadily improving balance, strength and endurance. His parents, Mark and Michelle, have played a key role in his progress by reinforcing at home the exercises introduced by Sarah during
Dylan’s therapy sessions.
Improved balance supports Dylan’s ability to remain upright without leaning on his hands for support. Dylan offered an unexpected and exciting example of his improved balance during a recent therapy session when he was able to take off his bright plaid shirt while sitting unsupported for the very first time. Sarah offered verbal cues, but patiently let him do all of the work. His mischievous spirit shone through when he revealed he was wearing a T-shirt decorated with a tie. Dylan giggled as he and his dad explained that the tie was so he would look good for the camera.
Core and upper body strength development are essential for Dylan’s independence. With Sarah’s guidance, Dylan has been working on getting in and out of his wheelchair by himself. He can transfer to a bench or the floor fairly quickly. The climb back into the chair is a little more of a struggle. Sarah watches his actions and offers suggestions so he can pull himself upright more easily. He and Sarah also practice wheeling his chair up and over uneven surfaces.
Greater endurance allows Dylan to maneuver his wheelchair independently on flat surfaces for increasingly long distances. Near the end of his session, Sarah reminded Dylan that they needed to head for the building’s lengthy indoor ramp, so he could build his endurance for going up and down hills. Dylan briefly frowned and reminded Sarah that the ramp is “really hard.” He did not hesitate, however. Instead, he and Sarah and his dad headed for the ramp, with Dylan chatting the entire way.