Today Parker is active and curious and loves playing baseball, but this was not always the case. Parker has cerebral palsy, which affects one side of his body including his arm and leg. As a preschooler, he walked up on his toes on one side and didn’t really like trying new things.
Then he enrolled in physical therapy at Easterseals’ outpatient clinic in Reading. His therapist focused on using play-based activities to engage him and soon his mother reported Parker was enjoying his therapy instead of resisting it. Parker attended physical therapy weekly and regularly came to our specialy medical clinic to see the orthopedist, who said Parker improved so much after a year of therapy that he no longer needed to wear a brace on his ankle. He had ceased walking up on his toes on one side, he could now walk up and down stairs without depending on the railing, and was jumping forward, over objects and down from a height using both feet instead of relying mainly on his stronger leg.
Because Parker made such great progress in his walking and motor skills, he was discharged from physical therapy and enrolled in occupational therapy (OT) to work on his fine motor, self-care and sensory skills, including expanding the number of different foods he was willing to try. Initially Parker refused to participate in new activities in OT and would yell, cry or scratch himself to avoid activities. Using the holistic approach for which Easterseals is known, Parker’s therapist taught his mother several activities she could introduce at home to help Parker adapt and become more receptive to therapy. It worked and soon Parker was fully engaged in his therapy.
With hard work and dedication, Parker achieved all of his OT goals and is thriving. He has learned to dress himself and take care of his own hygiene, and he has increased his independence and gained more confidence in trying new things. He is a member of a youth league baseball team and started kindergarten on time with his peers. His mother states that is not something she thought he would be able to do and credits Easterseals for making it happen. While she is sure there will be challenges ahead, she and Parker are both approaching the future with excitement and eager anticipation.