- Posted by MCRC Staff
- On November 7, 2019
It’s been just a year since Brooklyn, a typical little girl, was diagnosed with acute flaccid myelitis (AFM). AFM causes polio-like conditions such as muscle weakness and paralysis and it attacked Brooklyn’s upper extremity and respiratory system. She had to undergo a tracheotomy because she couldn’t breathe on her own. Brooklyn suffered a devastating change to her body in such a short time and she wasn’t going to recover on her own.
When she first came to the center, Brooklyn ate through a g-tube, was on a ventilator 7 hours a day, and was prone to falling because of her extreme weakened state. She needed both physical and occupational therapy to enable her to overcome the effects of AFM. Over the past 10 months, with the help of physical therapy, therapeutic riding, and occupational therapy, she has made extraordinary progress.
In Physical Therapy Brooklyn works hard to improve her strength in her upper extremities, back, lower extremities, diaphragm, and head/trunk. Part of her regimen includes “going for a swim!” The fact that she loves the water further emphasizes the range of benefits that she’s able to get from the hydrostatic pressure, resistance, and gravity-eliminating buoyancy of the therapeutic pool. Brooklyn often asks to do a task by herself or again if she feels she did not do a good job the first time.
Do you know how to use a dressing tree? Most people wouldn’t even know what that is but Brooklyn received hers just several weeks ago and her occupational therapy has helped her become a pro at getting herself dressed with the aid of this unique device. Things like getting dressed, brushing teeth, and getting out of bed were impossible tasks for Brooklyn in January. The strength and focus that Brooklyn shows in working to improve the functional use of her body is admirable, and has a hugely positive impact on her level of success in therapy.
Brooklyn started therapeutic riding July of this year and has gone from her first time riding a horse to riding her horse independently! Lately, she’s been practicing starting and stopping her horse and guiding it to turn corners and go through obstacles. These abilities require great concentration and strength throughout the entire body, also requiring muscles to communicate between each other and the brain in order to accomplish each task.
Brooklyn will celebrate her 8th birthday next week! She is very motivated to do everything a child of her age, whose body is working efficiently, does. If there’s a way to do it, she’ll figure it out. Her attitude toward overcoming obstacles is tremendously inspiring!