Sajjona sits and holds her painting up

Goal: Building Independence for Mobility and Communication

If you ask Sajjona’s family what she was meant to do, they reply, “She was born to thrive,” and she is doing just that. With their unwavering support and the guidance of Easterseals Massachusetts (ESMA) Rehabilitation Services therapists, she is living, learning, and playing to the fullest. Sajjona was born with Trisomy 18, also known as Edwards Syndrome. Despite the prognosis that she would not survive more than a few weeks, Sajjona has defied the odds and is now six and a half years old. She is thriving and enjoys activities such as swimming, musical play, and spending quality time with loved ones.

Sajjona works with ESMA Physical Therapist, Tiffany P., on an ongoing basis. Sajjona’s mother shared, “Tiffany has such a positive outlook, always focusing on Sajjona’s abilities and celebrating her achievements, no matter how small.” Tiffany ensures that everything they work on together in their physical therapy (PT) sessions is meaningful and functional. “When I initially began with Sajjona, we started by using the skills she already had and then further developed them, always with meaningful goals in mind.”

Since ESMA provides many services directly in the home, Tiffany can consider the household routine and involve family participation in Sajjona’s PT sessions. This holistic approach enables Sajjona and her family to learn and practice PT techniques in between scheduled appointments with Tiffany. Sajjona has reached many goals and has made incredible progress since starting with ESMA in 2022. When Tiffany and Sajjona began working together, Sajjona could sit up without support for only one second. One year later, she could sit on the floor for up to thirty minutes with only intermittent support! Sajjona has developed increased strength and can move in and out of different positions with less support due to the hard work she has put in. Sajjona is now initiating steps with just trunk support, assistance to weight shift, and prompting at the leg, for about 20 feet. With Tiffany’s guidance, Sajjona acquired adaptive equipment, including a new stander, gait trainer, car seat, and Rifton Activity Chair. This equipment allows Sajjona to explore her surroundings and participate in different activities independently such as painting and bowling.

In addition to Sajjona’s PT services, Sarah V., an ESMA Speech and Language Pathologist, is working with her toward her goals by developing individualized strategies and approaches for improved communication. Sajjona will continue to thrive and work hard toward achieving her goals while her family, friends, and ESMA therapists will continue celebrating her accomplishments along the way!

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