“There is no doctor that is more knowledgeable than the heart of a mother and her intuition, so if you feel there is something wrong, you must continue investigating,” says Eliane Batista. “Exhaust all possibilities to discover what might be wrong with your child.” Whether or not you agree with Eliane, this belief served her and her oldest son Gui well 28 years ago when she was told, twice, that he was fine when she sensed he wasn’t.
Gui showed subtle signs of developmental delays, like when he hadn’t started crawling by 9 months of age. For some children, that timing might feel ok, but for Eliane and her husband Cesar, it didn’t. Then at 14 months, Gui started walking but with a severe limp and a trembling right hand. “We were sure something was wrong,” says Eliane.
So off they went to the pediatrician, and then another. They thought one leg might be longer than the other, but an x-ray confirmed that wasn’t the case. Her pediatricians were good, but this problem was tricky. So Eliane took Gui to an orthopedist, who then referred her to a neurologist.
A CT scan confirmed that Gui had hydrocephalus, also known as water on the brain. At age 2, Gui received emergency surgery to install a shunt to drain the excess fluid on his brain. In fact, the left side of his brain was almost entirely filled with cerebral spinal fluid, which could’ve impaired his vision, memory and ability to speak.
After surgery, Gui was prescribed therapy to help his physical and mental development. Eliane says she saw little improvement in Gui after one year at a school for children with special needs.
Once she transferred him to an Easterseals center, he made major leaps in his development in a short time.
“We saw a vast improvement in all aspects of Gui’s development. He began hitting all his milestones rapidly; his motor skills completely developed and he was able to walk and communicate typically,” recalls Eliane. “I can’t imagine how different life for us, and for Gui, would have been had he not been diagnosed or had access to Easterseals’ programs early on.”
Gui remembers Easterseals as just being a fun place to go, where he played without realizing he was learning and developing. Today, Gui is a Director of Business Information & Knowledge Management at Easterseals National.
“I believe that the intervention I received from Easterseals, which transformed my life, is the single biggest contributing factor to me wanting to work in the nonprofit world,” says Gui, who is married and living in Chicago.
But if you really dig back into the story, all credit goes back to mom.
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