When Harper was a baby, she was diagnosed with Craniosynostosis. Craniosynostosis is a birth defect that causes the joints between the bones of a baby’s skull to close prematurely before the brain is fully formed. Then last year Harper received a diagnosis of Tublin Gene Malformation. Doctors informed Harper’s parents she may never walk or talk and there was a possibility she would be in a vegetative state. Harper’s parents didn’t accept that and neither did Harper.
Harper first came to Midland Children’s Rehabilitation Center to start a feeding program through speech therapy. Jacie Durham, M.S. C.C.C.-SLP, helped Harper with food acceptance, chewing and tongue laterization. After successfully completing the feeding program, Harper began receiving therapy through all three disciplines.
Jacie and Kesley Kusnerik, P.T., D.P.T., co-treat with speech and physical therapy. Harper has become more verbal by imitating 70-80% of single words and picking up several short phrases. When Harper first came to MCRC, she was just crawling and now she is walking with assistance and occasionally on her own. She is developing more trunk control and core strength, which is the ability to sit independently in a moving environment. Kelsey has also incorporated aquatic therapy to facilitate independent walking.
Harper has met several goals for Occupational Therapy, including manipulating toys and objects with both hands at midline and picking up small objects.. Emilie Billingsley, M.O.T., is currently working with Harper to release objects on demand, improve her fine motor skills, and improve her self-care skills in order for her to be successful in her home, school and community environments.
Harper continues to make strides and develop new skills. Kelsey explained, “Harper’s progress exemplifies that we’re working towards her reaching her full potential.”