I was invited to help celebrate the 40th birthday of Children’s Therapy Center based in Kent, Washington. CTC has always been on the forefront of multi-disciplinary therapy for children to help them achieve maximum independence.
My chance to speak gave me the unforgettable opportunity to publicly acknowledge and thank three people who dramatically changed the trajectory of Nick’s life. We met Dr. Stephen Glass in 1980 just as he was starting his private practice as a pediatric neurologist. He not only developed a cutting edge treatment plan for Nick’s seizures, he mentored Arden and me through those critical early years, referring us to the therapists that he believed would be the most helpful to Nick as an individual. One of those amazing referrals was to CTC and speech therapist Gay Lloyd Pinder for Nick’s feeding delays and Nancy Hylton for casting and splints to improve his mobility.
Nick had feeding issues since birth and over his first couple of years his ability to swallow improved, but he lacked the ability to bite and chew. Since Nick could swallow and feeding tubes were then commonly used only as a treatment for kids who couldn’t swallow, we were pureeing his food three times a day. Before we met with Gay Lloyd, we had gone through three blenders and he began refusing to eat the large amount of gruel we tried to feed him. He was losing weight and I was worried about his nutrition.
Right away, Nick began seeing Gay Lloyd twice a week at CTC and started making progress there. However, we didn’t see the same new skills transfer to home or anywhere else. Gay Lloyd decided to come by our house before school, twice a week on her way to work, for his feeding therapy. It was a long, laborious process with slow progress. Two times a week our family sat around the breakfast table eating oatmeal with Gay Lloyd encouraging, “in the mouth, Nick, in the mouth.” Finally, after quite a few years, Nick learned to bite, chew and self-feed. The one downfall is that now, none of my other children will ever eat oatmeal again. It’s a small price to pay.
In recent years, Gay Lloyd encouraged me to write our story. My memoir titled, “Our Time to Dance, A Mother’s Journey to Joy,” is now being published by Covenant Books and will be available in stores and online within the next month.
Nancy continues to bless our lives with the amazing orthotics she makes for Nick’s feet and ankles. His continued mobility is due in large part to her commitment to create just what he needs.
We are grateful every day for the dedicated service of pediatric neurologist Dr. Stephen Glass, speech therapist Gay LLoyd Pinder and therapist Nancy Hylton, as we see the fruits of their labors in the things Nick has accomplished in these 40 years.
The home movie video of my presentation is posted on YouTube.
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