Aquatic therapy turned out to be just the right kind of motivation for two year-old Liliana.
Born five weeks premature, Liliana spent the first 45 days of her life in the NICU. Like many preemies, she had difficulty breathing, eating and gaining weight – all of which would result in some developmental delays.
Liliana’s mother, Tina, enrolled her in CTC’s Early Intervention program and was intrigued with the aqua therapy program. “Liliana wasn’t using her elbows at all, so she wasn’t crawling,” she says. “Left to her own devices, she’d just fall over on her hands and knees and lie there. She needed help and motivation to start moving. The pool did it for her!”
Her physical therapist, Karen, agrees. “I was amazed to see Liliana persist in aqua therapy with activities she would refuse to do at home. She’s using her elbows, arms and legs and making fantastic progress.” Tina says that her daughter’s endurance has improved along with her strength and mobility. “She’ll try harder and go longer when she’s in the pool.”
CTC’s home-based Early Intervention program has helped Liliana make progress in other areas, too, says Tina. “It’s great that therapists come to the home,” she says. “It’s hard sometimes for kids like Liliana to come to a center-based program because everything is unfamiliar – the people, the toys. But when Karen comes to our house, she teaches me how to teach Liliana using whatever I have in my house. When our session is over, I know exactly what to do.”
Karen also helped Liliana make progress with feeding. “She’s incredibly flexible and really bases her sessions on however Liliana is feeling or what she’s doing. It’s very child-centered. Sometimes our appointment is early, when Liliana is eating breakfast, so Karen will work with her on feeding issues. Other times, Liliana has already eaten and is ready to play, so Karen just adapts! We’re able to work on a variety of things and make the most of the time we have thanks to home-based therapy.”
Thanks to her progress, Liliana is also able to participate in a CTC playgroup with other children. “It’s a comfortable, safe environment for her because all the kids there have some kind of delay or disability just like her,” says Tina. “She’s learning to engage with her teachers, make eye contact, and share books with her playmates. The growth she’s experiencing has been wonderful!”