Tell us your child’s story:
Sophie was born at 24 weeks in December 2016. She weighed 1lb and 14oz. They immediately took her to the NICU where she stayed for the next 4 months. While there, she underwent three surgeries, numerous blood transfusions, and too many tests and blood draws to count.
Unfortunately, we weren’t referred to any sort of therapies until Sophie was a year old, so for a while she was significantly delayed developmentally. She has had several diagnoses stemming from her prematurity including spastic diplegic cerebral palsy and ataxia which sometimes make it hard for her to stay balanced and mobile, and learning a new milestone or skill may take longer.
Sophie is now 4 years old. Her favorite things to do are sing, play dress up, and fish. Despite everything she’s been through, and continues to go through, she can always be seen with a smile or laughing at something silly. She’s sassy and she knows it. Everyone calls her our miracle baby. I don’t think she realizes how much she has changed our lives and the lives of those around her for the better.
Why did you choose APT for therapy services?
We had been seeing First Steps in our home for about a year. We had gotten to a point where she needed more help outside of what we could do within our own home. APT had great facilities and the reviews all spoke highly about them, so we decided to give it a try. She now sees OT, PT, and Speech every week.
What improvements have you seen in your child since they started therapy at APT?
I could probably write a book about the improvements we’ve seen. Her confidence in herself has soared. At one point, she couldn’t even look at herself in the mirror while trying to complete a task in Speech or PT because she was upset she couldn’t do it. Now, she isn’t afraid anymore. She watches herself in the mirror all the time. OT has allowed her to become more independent in her day to day life which she strives for so badly.
What has been your brightest moment along the journey?
For our OT journey, the two things that really stand out for me were when she started using her hands and fingers to pick things up and use them and when she started putting her socks and orthotic braces on the right way by herself. The PT brightest moments were when she jumped for the first time with two feet off the ground and started actually running. She was so excited! For Speech, it was when she didn’t have to struggle with communicating with us anymore. Having people comment that you can’t tell she was premature and that her communication is great really puts a smile on our faces. We have APT to thank for that!
What advice would you give other parents who face similar situations?
Be involved as much as possible with your child’s treatment. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Make sure you are working on things at home and not just at therapy. Always believe in your child. These kids are resilient and they need you to be behind them 100% of the way!
Occupational Therapist, Breanna Campbell, Physical Therapist, Audrey Harsh, and Speech Therapist, Courtlyn Hurt see Sophie at APT. We asked them to share a little about their journey with her.
How long have you been working with Sophie and what improvements you have seen?
Bre OT: I have been working with Sophie for a little over a year. Sophie has made major improvements during this time. We work on fine motor skills, visual motor skills, and self-care tasks. When Sophie started OT she was unable to grasp a writing utensil or draw pre-writing strokes. Now she is able to hold a pencil correctly and draw basic shapes! She could not complete dressing tasks, and now she is able to put on her own shirt, pants, socks, and shoes with very minimal assistance. Sophie continues to work hard during sessions and I see progress each and every session!
Audrey PT: I’ve been working with Soph for about 2 years. Early on, she was very hesitant to explore and play because she was unstable with her gait. She desperately wanted to run, jump, play, climb, and check out every corner of the gym. Within our time together, she has grown in strength, balance, and coordination to the point that I can barely keep up! We now use the whole gym for our sessions and I’m now yelling at her to slow down.
Courtlyn SLP: I have been working with Sophie for almost a year and a half now. She has made great progress since the initiation of speech therapy. When she first started she primarily spoke in 1-2 word phrases, and she now produces detailed sentences! We are currently targeting oral motor coordination and speech sound productions and she is doing great!
Describe a little about your and Sophie’s relationship.
Bre OT: Sophie is such a joy to work with. She lights up any room she enters with her exuberant personality. I have gotten to know Sophie very well over the past year. She is a sweet, silly, and fun loving child. We are able to have fun while also getting our work done. I really enjoy my sessions with Sophie each week.
Audrey PT: Soph is a complete goofball with such a fun sense of humor. Her and I can both laugh at the simplest things and make anything a little more fun with a silly voice or funny face. She’s incredibly motivated and an excellent listener, making my job easy!
Courtlyn SLP: Sophie and I quickly formed a great bond from the beginning of therapy. We love playing turn taking games, coloring pictures, and earning a pink sucker after finishing all of our work.
What is one of your favorite moments you have shared with Sophie?
Bre OT: One of my favorite memories with Sophie was this past Christmas when she gave each therapist a little gift. My gift had a quote that says “Little things lead to big gains”. That gift made my heart melt not only because of how sweet it was, but because the quote sums up Sophie’s progress. Each session she has made what seems like small improvements at the time, but looking back and seeing the big gains she has made this past year is incredible.
Audrey PT: Sophie recently learned to jump, and once she figured it out, she won’t stop! I teared up when I saw my little friend perform this skill we’ve worked so hard to achieve. One of my top therapy moments!
Courtlyn SLP: I have too many favorite moments with Sophie to just pick one! So, if I had to, our theme days would definitely win! Sophie enjoys dressing up for every theme, anything from super hero week to Christmas. Sophie arrives beaming and smiling every session and is such a pleasure to work with. I am so excited to continue watching her grow and progress each session!