Spencer and Ellie
“Our therapists are so much more than just therapists. Whatever else is going on in our lives, I can always count on them. They are our constant.”
Megan Carter tears up a little when she talks about the therapists, teachers, and Family Resources Coordinators who’ve been a part of her family’s life for so many years. “The amount of family support we get here is incredible,” she says. ”I feel so lucky we live here and have this kind of access.”
It’s easy to support a family so dedicated to being involved in their child’s therapy. “Megan does such a nice job connecting with us,” says Kim, her daughter Ellie’s physical therapist. “She brings us into their [family] world and helps us understand what’s going on and how we can help. She makes us feel like partners with her family.”
Family partnerships are everything at Children’s Therapy Center. Megan and her husband, Andy, are the parents of two children, both born prematurely.
Spencer (below, right), who began receiving occupational and speech-language therapy at CTC at the age of 10 months, was diagnosed shortly before his fifth birthday with ADHD and Asperger’s. “Spencer’s therapists have helped us advocate for services at school, which has been huge,” Megan says. “And therapy has improved his ability to get through daily life more easily.”
The tips Megan picks up during therapy sessions are ones she and Andy practice regularly with their son. “Sometimes, when he’s really wound up, we use the analogy of an engine to remind him to calm down. We’ll say, ‘Your engine is running really high right now, so it’s time to take a break.’ The great thing is that now, he recognizes it himself and will say to us ‘My engine is too high, I need a rest.’”
Their daughter Ellie (above) was born at 24 weeks weighing less than one pound. At 2 months, she was still only the size of a 20-oz soda bottle. “She was in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) for 125 days,” recalls Megan. Ellie started receiving Early Intervention services immediately after her discharge. She was extremely delayed. “Essentially, she was a newborn at 4 ½ months old.”
Although she has yet to receive a formal diagnosis, Ellie has already faced significant challenges. Her joints dislocate easily. She has epilepsy. She is dependent on a feeding tube and has lung disease, so she is accompanied by a medical stroller that holds her IV fluids and oxygen tank. And when she needs to walk long distances, she uses a walker. Still, she is making tremendous progress.
“Never once have I heard anyone at CTC say my kids can’t do something,” Megan says. “They find workarounds. They believe.”
Ellie receives coordinated occupational, physical and speech-language therapy at CTC. “The way her therapists collaborate is amazing,” Megan says. “They all talk with each other and develop a plan, and change their approach when needed. They know how to accommodate medical needs. I have no doubt that Ellie wouldn’t be as far along as she is without them.”