Tell us your child’s story:
Aiden’s story began on November 24,2009. Aiden was born at 24-weeks gestation. His due date was March 12, 2010; instead, he came very early. Five days after Aiden was born, he became very ill and needed surgery right away. First, it is rare for a baby weighing less than 500 g (17.6 ounces) to survive. The chances of a fetus surviving increases 3-4% per day between 23 and 24 weeks of gestation and about 2-3% per day between 24 and 26 weeks of pregnancy. I was able to see Aiden in the NICU the following day, which was Thanksgiving Day. My husband and sister stood beside me, and I almost fell into his arms when I first laid eyes on him. He was the tiniest little being I’d ever seen. There were so many wires attached to his monitors and hooked to his machines. It was frightening. The first couple of weeks in the NICU were scary – so many ups and downs. Aiden struggled with his premature lungs. He was ventilated for 11 weeks and was off and on several different types of ventilators before he was finally able to move to CPAP and then to an oxygen cannula. Aiden was born with no muscle tone. Aiden spent almost four months in the NICU until he came home on oxygen and an apnea monitor. My husband and I were by his side in the NICU every day. Those four months of our lives in the NICU are a bit of a blur now. Ten years later, the experience is etched in my mind forever and has changed me to my core. Aiden is doing great and has no permanent disabilities except for some slight developmental delays. Over the past four years, we’ve done Speech, Occupational and Physical Therapy at different times, depending on his needs at the time. Sometimes it’s hard to have a child who needs treatments, but I always remind myself of how very far we have come. During our stay in the NICU, the doctors told us the worst-case scenario, and that was challenging to hear. I tried to stay in the day and take it one thing at a time. We didn’t know if our “miracle” baby would survive, let alone thrive as a beautiful, curious, smart, and sweet little boy whose magical energy is infectious. We now know first-hand what a miracle looks like, and we get to see him every single day. We are eternally grateful to all the doctors and nurses at Cabell Huntington Hospital and CAMC Memorial Hospital in West Virginia.
Why did you choose APT for therapy services?
We have been a part of APT for four years now after three years of completing First Steps we knew we needed to keep the therapy sessions going for Aiden because it was going to be the only way for him to progress in his body and keep him stronger and be able to keep y up with his peers. APT is one of the best decisions we made because the therapists that have been involved with his care have been extremely amazing. Aiden has gone through different therapists over the course of four years and keeps going with change. They are at the top of the chain in getting him to keep trying new things and keep him interested. We hope to be with APT as long as physically possible for him to reach his ultimate potential goals.
What improvements have you seen in your child since they started therapy at APT?
Aiden has had tremendous progress in Speech and his verbal dialogue. He has increased his physical endurance and coordination in Physical Therapy with each visit. In Occupational Therapy his hand strength has increased and he’s able to hold a crayon and pencil so much better then when he first started. Aiden can write his ABCs on his own as well as his own name. When you have little to no muscle tone just basic skills of holding things and using them at the same time is a challenge, but he really gives it his all every week. Aiden has showed improvement with his writing skills and when he prints letters something that he has never been able to master before.
What has been your brightest moment along the journey?
I think our brightest moment has to be every time we walk into the APT building Aiden completely lights up with so much excitement and joy to see his favorite therapists. Every week he has the biggest grin and a bounce in his step to get started and he is absolutely a gem in their eyes. Knowing he loves it so much that he wants to go every week is so special and that it is not a chore, he has so much fun every time he enters the building. Aiden wants to learn, and it seems he learns more when he is with people that cares about him and wants to see him exceed.
What advice would you give other parents who face similar situations?
Learn all you can. Don’t be afraid to talk about it. If you feel something isn’t right than it’s not. Get involved with support groups, reach out to friends with connections, read, study up on diagnosis, never lose hope. Yes, it is easier said than done, however never lose hope in the ability that your child can exceed in life. Be there for them and don’t take life for granted!