PATIENT SUCCESS STORY: GRACIE

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This is Gracie, an amazing three-year-old in Amarillo that THERAPY 2000 provides both speech and physical therapy services. Gracie was born with a very rare condition called Birk-Barel syndrome which is characterized by intellectual disability, hypotonia, hyperactivity, and unusual facial features. She had severe feeding issues and airway difficulties at birth but has already been discharged from feeding therapy because she has met all her goals. Gracie, her family and her feeding/speech therapist, Val Betts, worked very hard and now she can enjoy a meal with her family. Gracie’s diagnosis places her at one of only twenty-five in the world and the only one in Texas with the condition. Kristy, Gracie’s mom along with her dad and three older siblings feel she has the special gift of bringing all of them even closer together since she was born.
Gracie’s parents were told about T2K in Amarillo from one of her many professionals she sees in Dallas. Dr. Elizabeth Sperry of the International Craniofacial Institute had seen a lot of success with her patients she had referred to T2K in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area over the years. Gracie had her first of many surgeries at five weeks of age in Dallas and has had numerous returning trips over her three short years. She is a very hard working, happy and social little girl that enriches everyone’s lives that have the pleasure of meeting her!
She currently receives PT services with Ashleigh Wilson and ST services with Val Betts. Gracie loves them both. Her mom Kristy says they both therapists are very loving but push her to work hard to reach her goals. She also says they are like family and genuinely care about Gracie. Mom states from day one the therapists really listened to her and took the time to “learn and speak Gracie”. They have cried together, shared in their struggles and celebrated all of her many achievements. Kristy said parents of children with special needs, appreciate a therapist who will share in their hope and not focus on what they can’t do but in what they CAN do. She loves that Val and Ashleigh continue to provide new ideas and are always “thinking outside the box” as that is how Gracie thrives. The family was thrilled that Gracie’s very rare diagnosis did not scare the therapists in any way with such little research out there and they never said “we can’t”. The family was told Gracie would never walk or talk when she was born and in the short time with the T2K therapists, she has started walking and running alone as well as increasing her vocabulary to more than 30 words.
Gracie’s mom states that she would recommend T2K for a variety of reasons. First, because they have knowledgeable, experienced and caring therapists. Secondly, because the services are provided in the home it reduces family stress. Gracie is in her home environment and spends less time in the car with the family’s busy schedule. Third, it helped the family recognize safety issues in the home that they had not consider< And last but not least, the therapists encouraged the family to enroll Gracie into a mother’s day out program. This was something the family would have not ever considered and Gracie has flourished! Val was able to suggest accommodations at the mother’s day out program with her feeding issues and Ashleigh was able to suggest independent motor activities that they would have never known about otherwise. Gracie’s family is so grateful for T2K and what a huge difference it has made in their lives!

PATIENT SUCCESS STORY: GRACIE

cutegirl
This is Gracie, an amazing three-year-old in Amarillo that THERAPY 2000 provides both speech and physical therapy services. Gracie was born with a very rare condition called Birk-Barel syndrome which is characterized by intellectual disability, hypotonia, hyperactivity, and unusual facial features. She had severe feeding issues and airway difficulties at birth but has already been discharged from feeding therapy because she has met all her goals. Gracie, her family and her feeding/speech therapist, Val Betts, worked very hard and now she can enjoy a meal with her family. Gracie’s diagnosis places her at one of only twenty-five in the world and the only one in Texas with the condition. Kristy, Gracie’s mom along with her dad and three older siblings feel she has the special gift of bringing all of them even closer together since she was born.
Gracie’s parents were told about T2K in Amarillo from one of her many professionals she sees in Dallas. Dr. Elizabeth Sperry of the International Craniofacial Institute had seen a lot of success with her patients she had referred to T2K in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area over the years. Gracie had her first of many surgeries at five weeks of age in Dallas and has had numerous returning trips over her three short years. She is a very hard working, happy and social little girl that enriches everyone’s lives that have the pleasure of meeting her!
She currently receives PT services with Ashleigh Wilson and ST services with Val Betts. Gracie loves them both. Her mom Kristy says they both therapists are very loving but push her to work hard to reach her goals. She also says they are like family and genuinely care about Gracie. Mom states from day one the therapists really listened to her and took the time to “learn and speak Gracie”. They have cried together, shared in their struggles and celebrated all of her many achievements. Kristy said parents of children with special needs, appreciate a therapist who will share in their hope and not focus on what they can’t do but in what they CAN do. She loves that Val and Ashleigh continue to provide new ideas and are always “thinking outside the box” as that is how Gracie thrives. The family was thrilled that Gracie’s very rare diagnosis did not scare the therapists in any way with such little research out there and they never said “we can’t”. The family was told Gracie would never walk or talk when she was born and in the short time with the T2K therapists, she has started walking and running alone as well as increasing her vocabulary to more than 30 words.
Gracie’s mom states that she would recommend T2K for a variety of reasons. First, because they have knowledgeable, experienced and caring therapists. Secondly, because the services are provided in the home it reduces family stress. Gracie is in her home environment and spends less time in the car with the family’s busy schedule. Third, it helped the family recognize safety issues in the home that they had not consider< And last but not least, the therapists encouraged the family to enroll Gracie into a mother’s day out program. This was something the family would have not ever considered and Gracie has flourished! Val was able to suggest accommodations at the mother’s day out program with her feeding issues and Ashleigh was able to suggest independent motor activities that they would have never known about otherwise. Gracie’s family is so grateful for T2K and what a huge difference it has made in their lives!

THERAPY 2000’s Karen H. Dowling, Honored with the Prestigious Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE) Status

Congratulations are in order for THERAPY 2000’s Karen H. Dowling, MCD, CCC-SLP, MBA, FACHE on recently becoming a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, the nation’s leading professional society for healthcare leaders. Fellow status represents achievement of the highest standard of professional development. In fact, only 7,500 healthcare executives hold this distinction.

Karen Dowling is responsible for overall operations at THERAPY 2000 and strategic initiatives for the North Texas Region, East Texas, Amarillo, Austin and San Antonio areas of Texas. Karen holds a bachelor’s degree in speech-language pathology and a master’s degree in communication disorders from Louisiana State University. She also holds a master’s degree in business administration from Texas Woman’s University.

To obtain Fellow status, candidates must fulfill multiple requirements, including passing a comprehensive examination, meeting academic and experiential criteria, earning continuing education credits and demonstrating professional/community involvement. Fellows are also committed to ongoing professional development and undergo recertification every three years.

“Because healthcare management ultimately affects the people in our communities, it is critically important to have a standard of excellence promoted by a professional organization,” says Thomas C. Dolan, PhD, FACHE, CAE, president and chief executive officer of ACHE. “By becoming an ACHE Fellow and simultaneously earning board certification from ACHE, healthcare leaders can show that they are committed to providing high-quality service to their patients and community.”

The American College of Healthcare Executives is an international professional society of more than 30,000 healthcare executives who lead our nation’s hospitals, healthcare systems and other healthcare organizations. ACHE is known for its prestigious credentialing and educational programs and its annual Congress on Healthcare Leadership, which draws more than 4,500 participants each year. ACHE is also known for its journal, the Journal of Healthcare Management, and magazine, Healthcare Executive, as well as ground-breaking research and career development and public policy programs. ACHE’s publishing division, Health Administration Press, is one of the largest publishers of books and journals on all aspects of health services management in addition to textbooks for use in college and university courses. Through such efforts, ACHE works toward its goal of being the premier professional society for healthcare leaders by providing exceptional value to its members.

Dowling is privileged to use the FACHE credential, which signifies board certification in healthcare management and ACHE Fellow status. THERAPY 2000 is proud to have her as a leader within the company.

Meet New Director of Human Resources, Lisa Manderson

Lisa has served as an HR professional for over the past 10 years.  She has extensive experience in benefits, compensation planning, employee engagement, and employee relations.  Lisa has worked in notable healthcare organizations such as Mercer, Milliman, Kaiser Permanente, and most recently, JPS Health Network. Lisa was born and raised in California and relocated with her family to the DFW area a number of years ago. She is excited to join the THERAPY 2000 team and has had a great time learning about the agency over the past two weeks. This week she will be shadowing therapists in the DFW area and learning about the services we provide on a daily basis. Welcome Lisa!

Expect More

Friday, March 21st, is World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD). The date was chosen for the significance of the genetic disorder, trisomy of the 21st chromosome. One in every 691 American babies are born with Down syndrome making it the most common genetic disorder. The date is celebrated to bring awareness and promote the fact that people living with Down syndrome can live happy, healthy and fulfilling lives.

One of our THERAPY 2000 parents has been a constant activist for the Down syndrome community at large and her son, Tim. This year the family put together one of the largest teams for North Texas Buddy Walk, raising $4,000 to support the cause. Theresa knows the importance of raising awareness that children with Down syndrome can lead rich, fulfilling and happy lives.

Theresa and Tim have maintained a relationship with Kathy Gamble, Tim’s former THERAPY 2000 PTA. Kathy worked with Tim from age 15 months until he was five and a half years old. This team of three has been out in the community advocating for Tim and other kids like him. One thing the threesome has done for the last three years is participate as guest speakers for a Texas Womens University Child Development class. Kathy and Tim share the benefits of physical therapy through live demonstrations of exercises they would do together in normal home therapy sessions, bringing the text book to life. The response from the students is always incredible.  After Kathy and Tim demonstrate techniques for the class, Theresa talks to the students about Tim’s life.  This year they shared an article Theresa wrote on having a child with Down syndrome called Expect More. The article discusses the importance of keeping high expectations for all kids and how it affects who they become. It is important to expect more from every child, including one with Down syndrome.  Higher goals mean that you believe in them and they can believe in themselves. Kathy, Tim’s former PT, shared these words about live classroom experience, “It is important to educate students about  things like putting the child first, setting high expectations,  starting intervention early to help children live up to their highest ability and level of independence, and putting a face on the value of a life. I’m always so moved by Theresa’s impassioned speech on valuing life rather than passing up a blessing out of fear of the unknown, or labeling a child with special needs a burden.”

In honor of World Down syndrome day, THERAPY 2000 salutes Tim, his family, and  our own THERAPY 2000 PTA, Kathy Gamble, on a job well done! Thanks for all your hard work on advocating for kids with Down syndrome, Below is Theresa’s article on expecting more and a poem she gave the Tim’s school teachers as a thank you for all their hard work.

Expect More

By Theresa Smith
 

We now have one of the most social and outgoing six year old boys with Down syndrome that his pediatrician knows.  Yet, after I replaced Tim’s first speech therapist, (who was in our home twice a week for over two years, from his being one to three and a half) I learned that she had decided he probably never would speak since he wasn’t speaking intelligibly by the age of three. We got a therapist who was willing to try methods I had learned about in DSPNT trainings and within four months Tim’s vocabulary had doubled.  We have to expect more!

Both of our boys are seen by the same fantastic dentist.  Tim’s older brother, Thomas, has been getting x-rays of his teeth since his first visit to this dentist at age four.  However the technicians never offered to try to x-ray Tim’s teeth.  Finally last spring when we went for our six-month checkup I asked them when they thought they would start trying to x-ray Tim’s teeth.  (He was almost six.) They said they could try that day.  We did, and it didn’t go too well.  But as I figured, if we never started, we would never finish.  If we didn’t try to get x-rays we never would.  This past fall when we returned to the dentist I had a discussion with Tim before we left the house.  I told him that if he sat still and let the technicians clean and x-ray his teeth and let the dentist look at them well, then we could stop at McDonald’s for lunch on the way home. (We “never” stop anywhere.)  It worked like a charm!!! I have never been so happy to eat at McDonald’s in all my life.  We have to expect more!!!

I am constantly having to ask myself, “What am I expecting of my children?”  “How are my expectations limiting them?”  “What are others expecting of my kids?”  “Are the expectations of those individuals the ones I want to shape my child?”  We as parents are called to govern and shepherd and nurture our children and help them become all they were created to be.  I hope you will join me in expecting more! 

This is a little poem Theresa put together with some treats for Tim’s teachers in the public school he attends- it is also about “expecting more” from Tim

These tasty treats come long overdue,
But they are given to say a big THANK YOU!!!
Whether you are a teacher or on the school’s support staff
Or just someone who likes to make Tim laugh
We want you to know that we appreciate you!!!!!
We want you to be blessed and avoid the flu,
So this year we are giving you some veggies too.
In 2013 our little boy turned six.
We’re sure you’ve noticed he’s learned a few tricks.
He knows that he is pretty darn cute
And if you are not careful he will act like a toot.
We appreciate each of you who expect more of him.
Please don’t let him get away with anything in the halls, grounds, classes or gym!
Hold him to a high standard! Expect him to compete!
Don’t ever be fooled by his tiny hands and feet.
We are grooming a champion, a future leader.
Who knows, maybe someday he may be a teacher!
Maybe not one in the typical sense,
But he will become a man of great influence.
So thanks for all of the things you do to keep Tim safe, happy and learning.
As we reach this midpoint, where the school year is turning,
We want you to know YOU ARE APPRECIATED!!!
THANK YOU!!!!