A child’s progress in therapy can often feel like a slow process, especially when that progress is years in the making.
“As parents, we’ve had to learn how to celebrate smaller milestones along the way to achieving the big ones,” says Jamelah, mother of 11-year-old Chase. “Sometimes the big milestones seem frustratingly far off. If you can focus on your child’s progress step by step, it takes the pressure off. And then one day, when he finally reaches that huge milestone – it’s just this wonderful surprise that makes all the effort along the way worth it!”
Chase first came to CTC for services when he was 4 years old. Diagnosed with cerebral palsy, he was born premature at 32 weeks with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), brain hemorrhage, and hydrocephalus. “Chase was one of the first children I worked with at CTC, and he has made so much progress,” says his physical therapist Teresa. “When I first began seeing him, he had no head or trunk control. I changed out his equipment from a stroller to a wheelchair that would demand a little more effort from him. That one decision had a big impact for Chase.”
As Chase grew older, his motivation grew as well. “He is determined to do as much for himself as he can,” says Teresa. “Chase is actively engaged in therapy and is driving his own progress. He’s been working lately on being able to hold himself up in a sitting position.”
One of his biggest goals this was to join his family at the dinner table for meals. “So much goes into a task that many of us take for granted,” says Teresa. “This is a big deal for Chase. He has to get up and out of his wheelchair and onto a dining chair. He needs to be able to support himself at the table to eat. It requires a tremendous amount of motor control and strength for him to achieve this.”
Chase persevered, and one day during a therapy session with Teresa and his mom, he accomplished what he’d set out to do. With a little assistance from Teresa, Chase was able to sit at a table at last. “He was so proud!” says Teresa. “And once we provided him with a little more arm support, he was able to support himself comfortably. This was such a big day for Chase!”
These days, Chase is working on a new goal: being able to sit on edge of his bed so his mom can transfer him to his wheelchair. After that, he wants to be able to lift his arms so his mom can help him get dressed. “These goals are all Chase’s idea. He’s old enough now to be in charge of his own future. We’re just here to help him get there.”