October Patient Spotlight: Charlie!

October is Down Syndrome Awareness month, so we are delighted to share one of our dear patients, Charlie, with you! Here’s a little more about this special guy!

Tell us your child’s story.

Charlie is 11 years old and in 6th grade. He plays basketball and loves to dance. He is a happy guy but tends to be a bit shy. He also happens to have Down Syndrome. He has had several ear surgeries that caused delays in his speech. Charlie loves chili so much he would eat it every day. He can cook and do laundry. He has 2 older sisters, 2 older brothers and 11 nieces and nephews.

Why did you choose APT for therapy services?

We have many friends who go to APT for therapy and had heard so many good things. He also could attend therapies at Down Syndrome of Louisville or “work” as he calls it, which is closer to home.

What improvements have you seen in your child since they started therapy at APT?

Since he has started working with Kayla for speech and Meredith for OT, his speech is much clearer and he now uses most letters correctly. He corrects himself when he uses the incorrect sound. He still has times when his speech is unclear, but they are working on this. In OT they work on his core strength, and he has gotten much better. He can do push ups with Meredith doing them with him. Now they are working on hand writing and spacing. He is doing better.

What has been your brightest moment along the journey?

When he hits a new milestone. When he snapped his pants on his own or zipped his pants. When he uses a word or phrase that he could not say clearly before. Most have been delayed and when he meets them we celebrate!

What advice would you give other parents who face similar situations?

Start as soon as you can. The improvements he made after starting with Kayla and Meredith were tremendous after he got comfortable with them. Now they are not just therapists they are friends.

Speech Therapist, Kayla Sergesketter, and Occupational Therapist, Meredith Doyle see Charlie at APT. We asked them to share a little about their journey with him.

How long have you been working with Charlie and what improvements have you seen?

Kayla:

Charlie was one of the first patients that I started working with when I started with APT just around 4 years ago. He has come such a long way in the past 4 years! He has made SO MUCH progress that it’s hard for me to just comment on a few things. When I first started with Charlie, he was using primarily 1-2 word utterances to make choices/requests and label pictures or objects in his environment. He needed prompts and cues to make requests and answer questions. BUT NOW…Charlie is able to participate in conversation with me by answering questions or making comments about his day, his interests (e.g., movies), or something in the immediate environment using longer phrases and/or complete sentences. He is able to formulate complete sentences up to 8-10 words in length to talk about pictures or communicate an idea/thought that he has. He is able to answer comprehension questions about the events/details of a story and is able to read a lot of words independently. He can follow 2-3 step directions to show comprehension for a wide variety of concepts. He has made a lot of progress with production of his speech sounds, as well, and is able to give me “clues” to help me figure out a word if I can’t understand something he says- which is a great strategy for him to use, too!

Meredith:

I have been working with Charlie since November 2013. The improvements he’s made since then are amazing! When Charlie first started occupational therapy we had basic goals targeting writing his name, completing clothing fasteners, participating in reciprocal play, and following 1-2 step directions. Charlie gave me a run for my money in the beginning, and I was usually sweating by the end of our sessions, just trying to keep up with him. Fast forward a few years and we’ve moved on from writing his name to writing 10 word sentences. Charlie can dress himself independently now and we’re just perfecting his shoe tying skills. 1-2 step directions are a piece of cake and now we get to focus on following written directions for both fine motor and gross motor tasks. Charlie has always been a silly and playful child and now, instead of being silly and off-task, he is playful while still getting his work done. I can always count on Charlie for a fun time and good laugh.

Describe a little about yours and Charlie’s relationship.

Kayla:

Charlie and I have a lot of fun together. I really look forward to my session with him each week. He has really matured since we started working together and it’s been so much fun to see him grow up over the years. He’s a big bad middle schooler now, and I sometimes see the attitude that comes along with the middle school years. He’ll say, “Oh come on!” or “Are you kiddin me?” if I ask him to do something again for extra practice, but he’s usually just giving me a hard time and will still do what I ask him to do. He is such a fun kid, though, and I absolutely love working with him! I am very proud of how much progress he has made and can’t wait to see what his future holds!

Meredith:

Charlie is truly hilarious. He comes in every week with something new he wants to tell me about, and thanks to his work with Ms. Kayla, I’m able to able to understand so much more of his speech. Because of Charlie I’ve learned all the character’s names in Godzilla, Secret Life of Pets, Moana, Ninja Turtles, and Star Wars just a name a few. Charlie gets excited to write sentences about his favorite characters, which works out wonderfully for our handwriting goals! I look forward to my sessions with Charlie. He can do anything he puts his mind to and I can’t wait to see all he will accomplish!

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