As summer transitions into autumn, we are reminded that every day is another beginning filled with new wonders and experiences. For Don and Joann Brees, the parents of three thriving boys, they are reminded daily, especially by their youngest son Brody.
In the Summer of 2014, Brody began receiving services at Easter Seals Capper Foundation, including Occupational, Speech and Physical Therapy. For the first 10-months of Brody’s life nothing seemed too out of the ordinary. His mom recalls, “At four-months, he was doing all the things you would see at two-months, so he didn’t fall out of the range of being concerned,
but he was always just a little behind”. At 11-months, Brody experienced his first seizure and was diagnosed with Global Developmental Delay.
“When we first came here I really didn’t know what to expect. Having a child with special needs, you are searching for any possible help”, Joann said. Brody was primarily non-verbal
when he began therapy. The words he would say, he would use in intervals and he was not able to retain. Brody also struggled to walk and with balancing.
An iPad was used for assistive technology when Brody began seeing Speech Therapist, Jenny Stous. This helped Jenny discover that Brody had a lot of words in his vocabulary, but he just didn’t have the oral motor skills to produce them clearly. Brody now uses flash cards for memory recognition and labeling of household objects, animals, colors, different foods and everyday toys. They also do drills putting two words together and combining them to help with speech and articulation.
Jenny shared,“Speech helps us get our wants and needs met. If we can’t tell someone that we’re hurt, or we need help, or we’re happy, your quality of life isn’t there. For Brody, he is able
to tell us he is happy, or he wants to eat or he just wants to go play. He has the ability to do that. To hear him speak now and to use sentences and words, it is just amazing! Brody is a hard worker and it shows”.
“When you have a son or a daughter that does not function to the ‘normal standards’ as people would say, you feel left out. You feel on an island sometimes and Capper allows families to have an outlet, a way to attack it and a way to overcome it. They give you goals”, Brody’s father Don said.
While receiving Occupational Therapy, Brody is focused on learning daily life skills, such as, dressing and basic play skills. The goal is for him to be as independent as he can be, to pursue his interests as he gets older, and to be able to participate with his family and friends. Jessica Chandler, Occupational Therapist noted, “It is very rewarding to see kids who can’t put their shoes on, and who never thought it would be possible, to eventually being able to put their shoes on and tie them without moms help! These achievements give Brody and other kids a sense of power, a sense of meaning!”
Physical Therapist, Kim Coker, explained the main focus when she first began working with Brody was to get him to walk up and down the stairs by himself. Brody struggled with using both feet, so Kim focused on isolating and strengthening his weak foot. This was accomplished by implementing activities that he enjoyed, like using the basketball goal and riding the big tricycle. He is now walking up and down stairs unassisted. His dad shared, “To see him go up and down stairs using both feet, is really a great accomplishment”.
Regarding the therapy staff who treat Brody, Don said, “We know it’s their job but they don’t make it their job, they make it about caring, and teaching and setting goals. They are always trying to find something that can help. They mean everything to us! We can’t thank them enough. Brody is amazing us everyday!”
At Easter Seals Capper Foundation, we know disabilities touch us all. We believe in helping each other be the best we can be along life’s journey. Kim Coker said,“It’s hard to watch your child not be able to do things, or to watch your child struggle. Anything we can do to make that not so hard, we like to do”.
Our services would not be possible without the support we receive from friends like you. We are stronger and better together and we know that helping persons served be the best they can be each day is a collective team effort.
Thank you for truly being on our team and helping us make profound, positive difference in people’s lives everyday. There are many more individuals who need our services, so please consider a generous contribution to help more individuals like Brody build their abilities and be all they can be. Your support makes such a positive impact and you will feel good about giving! Thank you
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