Physical Therapy Patient Spotlight — Olivia

Olivia is an adorable 17-month-old girl who was born 6.5 weeks early with a diagnosis of Trisomy 2 (duplication of part of chromosome #2). Olivia spent her first few months in the NICU and had a tracheostomy placed at 7 months of age. Due to Olivia’s rare diagnosis, she has low muscle tone, which contributes to feeding difficulties, problems with breathing, and delayed development of motor skills such as sitting, standing, and walking. Olivia’s physical therapy treatment over the past 2-3 months has focused on helping her to become indepent and  focuses on mobility. Olivia’s most recent accomplishments are transitioning into sit all on her own and commando crawling! Go Baby Go! Oliva’s therapist, Heather Pitner, PT, and a group of THERAPY 2000 therapists attended a workshop to learn how to modify toy power vehicles t hrough GoBabyGo!  This program started several years ago at the University of Delaware by Cole Galloway, PhD, PT. After studying infant behavior, Dr. Galloway became interested in closing what he calls “the exploration gap.”  This is the gap that we see between children with typical mobility and those who experience mobility impairments such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and Down syndrome. When an infant or toddler reaches for an object, scoots across the carpet, or learns to walk around the room, she’s learning to interact with her environment in a way that forges new connections. A mobile child learns how to explore a room and approach other children. Go Baby Go! provides powered toy cars to developmentally disabled children from 8 months to 4 years old. This enables these children to move themselves similarly to typically developing children. Research has shown that early mobility opportunities lead to an increase in social interaction and cognitive development.   New Surroundings The moment Olivia was placed in her […]


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Employee Spotlight — Lora Kirkland

Meet Lora — a self-described “West Texas girl” from Odessa who graduated from Texas Tech University in Lubbock. She, along with her husband and daughters moved to Aledo, Texas in January 2012 for a new job and great schools. Family Life Lora has been married to her husband, Chad, over 11 years. Together, they have two amazing and crazy girls, Kylie and Libby, as well as a rescue dog, Clara. Lora and Chad stay active by running, doing Crossfit, and they recently began biking with their daughters. Their family hobbies include taking adventures, hunting and being outdoors. Lora and Chad have passed their own love of the outdoors to their daughters, who now have memorable stories of exploring the family land and going on adventures. This fall, Kylie and Libby learned to shoot a bow. Lora said it has been fun to share a new activity they all can do while making family memories. Volunteering in the Community Most recently, Lora participated in the Carson Leslie Foundations annual BECK Bow Shoot, raising money for pediatric brain cancer research. This event was special to Lora because she works with a child who recently began treatment for brain cancer. Through the foundation, he has received numerous gifts and has been connected with an organization that will take him on a hunting trip geared specifically to him and his specific needs following surgery and treatment. Green Apple Therapy Lora’s background includes both clinic and home-health therapy with Green Apple. When offered the opportunity to help open Green Apple’s clinic in Weatherford, Texas, she was eager to bring a needed resource to the area. Lora served as Green Apple’s Clinic Director for almost four years before transitioning back into a full-time home health therapist position. Lora believes both settings are uniquely fulfilling, and she […]


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Patient Spotlight: Brandon

Brandon is a precious 19-month-old boy with an adjusted age of about 12 months. Born at 23.5 weeks gestation, Brandon was in the NICU for 6 months after birth and required intubation. Upon his release, Brandon required round-the-clock oxygen via Nasal Cannula. He had a VP shunt placed in June 2017 and a g-tube placed in July 2017. While in the NICU, Brandon underwent two swallow studies with results of NPO (no food or liquid by mouth) due to aspiration and penetration on thin liquids and penetration on thickened liquids. Besides taste trials, this was his diet upon release from the NICU in August 2017. In September 2017, Brandon began intensive feeding/vital stim therapy with THERAPY 2000. In October 2017, four weeks after starting treatment, another swallow study was conducted, and Brandon aspirated on all consistencies. He remained NPO with taste trials only outside of therapy but was cleared for trials of half nectar up to 15 mLs during therapy. Brandon’s parents and therapist were disappointed that he was not cleared for full PO feeds because he loved and thoroughly enjoyed eating. Nonetheless, Brandon continued intensive vital stim therapy twice weekly for another six months, with a follow-up swallow study in March 2018. Following the study, Brandon was cleared for full PO feeds at home, with restrictions to include nectar thickener for liquids. Due to the outstanding progress he made toward his goals, Brandon’s therapy frequency was reduced to once per week with the final goal to eliminate the need for using thickening agents. In September 2018 – less than a year after starting treatment with THERAPY 2000 – Brandon has fully transitioned back to the community and no longer requires therapy. He is thriving, gaining weight, loves food, and his family is excited that he can eat everything by […]


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Before they were SLP Interns, they were superheroes in Uganda

In Spring 2018, Louise Havron and Marissa Fretz had the unique opportunity to spend their final graduate school externship working with Hope Speaks, a nonprofit organization developed to provide speech therapy, advocacy, and education to children and adults across Kampala, Uganda. While in Uganda, Louise and Marissa worked with children and families who have faced and overcome a variety of challenges. Some lived in 10×10 rooms in a slum, walking several miles each day to then sit in a waiting room until their child to be treated. Others have had to remove their kids from school because transportation became unavailable or tuition could no longer be paid. Through speech therapy, they empowered families to help their loved ones and saw both children and adults who had a lot to say once given the means and guidance to express themselves. Both Louise and Marissa were overwhelmed by the selflessness of the community and the motivation of their patients’ families to find help. They observed that when an individual learned something new, it spread through the community and resulted in greater education, awareness, and acceptance. Louise and Marissa both said that seeing communities work together and take care of each other – striving to help each child reach their full potential and participate more fully in life – was indescribable. They felt extremely blessed to have the opportunity to raise awareness about how speech therapy can increase the quality of life. Both feel that working with and growing with the families in and around Kampala was a life-changing experience. As time goes on, Louise and Marissa pray for increased education greater accessibility to therapy services for communities across Uganda. The experience, they said, both changed and molded their perspectives on life and resilience. They learned that while we don’t get to choose […]


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Employee Spotlight: Megan Clark, MS, CCC-SLP – DFW Division

Megan Clark is a mother of six and a Speech Language Pathologist in our DFW division. Her plan was always to work with special-needs children, and she originally considered pursuing a degree in Special Education. During college, Megan discovered a passion for Speech Pathology and soon felt certain that she wanted to become a Speech Therapist. Megan married her high school sweetheart, Ray, and after finishing graduate school in 2005, she worked full-time for a school district and PRN for THERAPY 2000. The couple always believed adoption would be part of their story, and this was further confirmed when Megan began treating two children who lived in a group foster home. Megan recalls some of the children asking if she could be their mom, and she was heartbroken by the thought of a child facing each day without knowing the love of a mother and father. Several years went by, and the Clarks had three biological kids and were licensed for foster care. Over a six-year period, they welcomed nine children into their home as long-term foster placements. Their fifth placement was their youngest ever at just two days old. Her name is Rosalie, and the Clarks adopted her 15 months later. In April 2016, they saw a photo of a four-year-old boy with phenylketonuria (PKU), a genetic metabolic condition present at birth. PKU requires lifelong management of diet and a special medical formula to avoid permanent brand damage. They began the process to adopt him shortly thereafter, and met their son, Rex, in March 2017. Just before traveling to Beijing for Rex, the Clarks’ adoption agency listed Minnie, a little girl with Down Syndrome. They decided to pursue her adoption shortly after returning from China with Rex. The Clarks loved Minnie from the moment they saw their first video […]


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