Son: Dino, 4 years old, Cerebral Palsy and Epilepsy
Main Goal: Work on his strengthening and balance to be more independent
Could you describe what things were like when Dino first started working with Breakthrough?
J- Dino started having uncontrolled seizures at 4 months. He never developmentally sat, stood or walked by himself…everything was assisted. We came here after he had a pretty bad seizure episode and was hospitalized. So any progress he had made, there was a lot of regression. So we came here in hopes that he would be a little stronger. We thought it would help him work on his strengthening, balance, especially balance. There are things that he can’t do if someones assisting him, so the bungee, the idea of the bungees gave him this sense of self, which is also what I was excited about.
A- Yeah, we were researching different options and different things to do and we came across this type of therapy and we thought it would be something that would be good for him.
What kinds of improvements have you been able to see as a result of working with Breakthrough?
A- I think with both sitting and standing. He still needs a good amount of support, but it’s much easier, handling him has been a lot easier.
J- And now he’ll stand, if he’s sitting in his chair and I want to take him out he’ll stand up and give me enough time to kind of give him help. Before it was never like that where he would even be sitting in his activity chair and be kind of slumped over - we never see that anymore. His trunk control is significantly better, he’s able to stand just me holding his waist for anywhere from 30 seconds to 3 minutes or even more.
A- Cognitively too!
J- Cognitive growth! I really saw huge difference too, which was almost unexpected. I wasn’t really expecting that. Cognitively he’s just focused now. He looks at people, smiles at you. When he sees someone come into the room he’ll acknowledge you now, he acknowledges our pet dog. You know things that he never noticed before, I feel like after doing an intensive program especially, that really helped him.
A- I feel like he’s doing better after each session, he s able to tolerate everything a little longer.
What do you love most about visiting our office and working with Breakthrough?
A- It’s a fun experience when we get to come here, we get to see him smiling when he's working hard.
J- I mean most importantly is he likes coming here. I was worried that coming here would just be more frustrating because it's hard, but Christine is really good at giving him a short break when he becomes frustrated. Or not really a break but doing something that's still work but something that he enjoys. I think that really helps him like it here and then in turn we like it here...and how awesome you guys are.
How has working with Breakthrough helped you feel about Dino’s confidence and mobility?
J- I mean Dino never had a confidence problem! No, but as far as his mobility while he’s not doing anything independently it's easier to assist him. He’s getting bigger so it's not so easy to assist him as much as it used to be when he was small. So the fact that he can give us some help is massive. It makes our lives so much easier, day to day, everything. Everything that we do with him is a little bit easier because he has a little more muscle control, a little more strength.
What would you want other people to know about working with Breakthrough?
A- Don't be intimidated by the videos and pictures you see. At first we didn’t know what to expect but after the first session, and dealing with Christine and seeing like the operation of everything... it's just a good experience. Anybody who can give this a shot - definitely try it out. It's well worth it. We definitely made a good decision by doing this.
J- I feel like this was an investment we made, and that we're really happy that we made it. I think that the first time that we saw this and spoke with Christine she really listened to me. She was accepting of what I was saying and understood my concerns. So when we did come, she addressed my concerns upfront with me so I was much more comfortable. Instead of just telling me "yes, I've worked with kids like him", she listened to me and made it more personal for him and us.
If someone was on the fence about working with us, what would make them feel more confident about giving us a try?
J- I think the fact that you give a free phone consult and then let them come in and have a free exploration. I mean it’s like a no brainer! Try it out and see how it is.
Is there anything else you want to add, or that you would want people to know?
A- Just that I feel like we met a bunch of families who are currently coming here, or maybe who have come here in the past and we saw how happy they were, and we experienced the same thing. And it's just a great place, good atmosphere. We bring our daughter, Ella, Dino's sister here to hang out too.
J- It's a community of people who are going through similar things as you…you know similar but different. I mean we even connect with equipment like being able to just kind of open the doors for us to talk to other families about that kind of stuff is a big help…so we love it here.