Because Brooke was born with Spina Bifida, she’s been overcoming unique challenges and reaching goals since day one. Now she’s a toddler and with the help of her parents, older brother and her Aspire therapists, she’s close to her next big goal.
Much of Brooke’s therapy has focused on muscle development and strength. “She’s had to learn how to use different muscles to compensate for weak areas,” explained her mother, Angela. “Sitting, crawling and pulling up to stand… all are parts of typical development, but for someone with muscle deficits, it’s hard work.”
When Brooke was 18-months, developing upper body strength was a big goal so she could propel a wheelchair. Now it’s core and leg strength to enable her to go from sitting to standing to using a walker. It will be a big accomplishment and an important one, because it will give her another form of independent mobility.
Once a week Brooke goes to Aspire for therapy and once a week an Aspire therapist goes to Brooke at her daycare. And as her mother knows, it’s always important to work on goals outside of therapy. “The therapists always have suggestions on how to incorporate therapy into everyday play and other things that are going on at home. That makes it a lot easier for the parent and child to turn it into part of everyday life.”
Brooke’s five-year-old brother Braxton gets in on the action, too. At home, they “play gymnastics” and Brooke gets a lot of physical exercise without even knowing it. At Aspire, if Brooke is a little shy to try something new, like get on tricycle, he’s there to show her what to do.
Braxton’s involvement in his sister’s therapy, along with his parents’, is a good demonstration of Aspire’s family-centered approach. “They have a lot to offer,” says Angela about Aspire’s workshops, support groups and events for parents and siblings. “We’ve attended some as a family. It’s great they offer that kind of support.”
But for now, the main focus is on Brooke who loves her therapists and knows that she goes to Aspire for physical therapy and to, “Walk, walk.” And play in the ball pit when she’s finished!