Emma’s dreams are in reach
Five-year-old Emma Lo dreams of becoming a doctor. It’s not a surprise, given how carefully she tends to her dolls and toy animals. Emma’s parents, Brian and Judy, have dreams too: that Emma will be happy, confident, independent, and able to do anything she wants when she grows up.
To see Emma fly down the hall using her walker, it’s hard to guess that three years ago she could barely crawl. Diagnosed with spastic cerebral palsy at age two, she was referred shortly afterward to ErinoakKids for assessment and therapy.
“When we first came to ErinoakKids, we really didn’t know what to expect or what to do,” says her father Brian. “Thankfully, we found the answers at ErinoakKids.”
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a condition that affects body movement and muscle coordination. It is most often caused by an injury to the brain before, during, or shortly after birth. Emma’s form of CP primarily affects her legs, making it difficult for her to stand and sit upright, walk or run.
A team of ErinoakKids’ clinicians works with Emma and her family to maximize her potential. The Orthotics Clinic fitted Emma with braces to keep her feet and ankles in a good position for standing and walking. Her physiotherapist prescribed a walker, which Emma uses at school. The Seating Clinic provided Emma with a wheelchair for longer outings. For the past year, Emma has received Botox injections in her leg muscles to reduce the tightness and stiffness.
“I notice that after her injections it’s easier for Emma to do the exercises to stretch her shortened muscles,” notes her physiotherapist Aralia Toledo-Russell. “It really helps improve her range of motion.”
“When we started at ErinoakKids, there were a lot of things that Emma just couldn’t do, such as walking or going up and down stairs,” recalls Brian. “Now, with the support of the ErinoakKids team, she can do them all!”
Supporting Emma is a family affair. Often one of her three older siblings will attend Emma’s appointment to observe the therapist in action. At home they reinforce the therapy, multiplying its effect.
As Emma’s mobility has improved, so have her social skills, self-confidence and ability to express herself.
“Emma loves coming to ErinoakKids,” explains Brian. “Her therapy sessions are so much fun that she thinks of them as special play dates! It’s been amazing to see her progress. We now have no doubt that Emma will achieve her dreams.”