Taking Smart Steps to Walking

For most of us walking across the room is pretty easy to do. It’s something that hasn’t come as easy for Julian, but he’s worked hard to get where he is now.
Julian has a diagnosis of arthrogryposis with clubbed feet. However, he’s mostly known for how smart he is.
MCRC Executive Director, Brooke Mueller, P.T., M.Ed., has been seeing Julian for therapy for almost three years, since before he was a year old.
When Julian started therapy he had very little movement in his elbows and knees, didn’t have any muscle strength in his shoulders and moved around by scooting on the floor.
After having surgery on his feet, Julian is wearing specialized braces to help keep his ankles at a 90-degree angle and hold his feet in a healthy position, until they heal. With the help of physical therapy, Julian is walking. What helped jump-start his progress, was his intelligence.
“Oh, he’s so bright, so perceptive. I would show him how to do something or I would take him through a motion and he would pick it up in a heartbeat,” said Brooke. “He has great muscle memory and he’s a very precocious little boy.”
Just a couple months ago, Julian was primarily using a walker. Now his walker only comes our when he is in crowded, unfamiliar places. After having surgery on both of his elbows and wrists, the next step, is learning how to incorporate the new movement of his arms into walking.
“It’s all a part of our movement as human beings,” said Brooke. “Using our arms to help shift our weight or to help us with that balance as we walk.”
Julian has made impressive headway being put on an intensive program, adding occupational, aquatic and hippotherapy while keeping his traditional physical therapy treatment. Brooke attributes a lot of Julian’s success to his mother.
“Mom carries through just about everything we do during therapy,” said Brooke. “She’s so smart and really understands how to work out his body at home, making sure he’s always getting stronger.”
Julian’s family is excited to see how much more progress he will make before he starts school in the Fall.