FECTS Director Message
- Written by Colleen Gallant
I sincerely hope that everyone had a safe and happy holiday season. It is hard to imagine that we are already past the holidays.
I am very pleased to announce that we have hired a new therapist, Samantha Yox, a physical therapist who lives in the Crystal River area with her husband, Shane, and daughter, Makenzie, along with their fur baby, Roscoe, a black lab. We are so happy to have Samantha as part of our amazing team of therapists.
For those of you who were at the midyear convention and attended the major projects meeting, you heard occupational therapist Argie Criner speak. Like many of the stories our therapists share at these meetings, I think this one needs to be told again so that all our Elks and ladies organizations can hear this amazing story.
Argie shared a story about Leah, her 15-year-old patient who is a typical teenager who loves pop music, texting on her phone, painting her nails and arguing with her older sister.
In early 2016, Leah was diagnosed with a cyst on her brain. As recommended by her doctor, the cyst was removed in June 2016. When Leah woke from her surgery, her family was there to greet her, but Leah was unable to speak or move her right arm, hand or leg.
Leah’s parents were told that she had a stroke after her cyst was removed. Leah immediately began speech, physical and occupational therapies in the hospital. She was transferred to a rehab facility near her home and received therapy services until October 2016. Her therapy services abruptly came to an end before she was ready to be discharged and her medical insurance no longer covered the therapy she needed.
Once Leah was back home, she received schooling from the Pasco County School System through their hospital homebound program because she was unable to manage independently in the school setting. Leah was no longer eligible to receive the much-needed therapy in her home because of their insurance. Leah’s mother was extremely worried because she was not able to get any of the services that she so desperately needed. A caseworker suggested that Leah’s mother call the Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services program to see if she would qualify for our services.
We received the application in our state office and forwarded it to Argie Criner, OT to contact the family to see if Leah qualified. After Argie spoke with Leah’s mother, she returned the application with her comments indicating that Leah did indeed qualify.
From October 2016 to May 2017, Leah had no therapy at all. Since May 2017, Leah has been receiving occupational therapy once a week for 60 minutes. After six months of intense occupational therapy, Leah is now able to greet Argie with a smile in the driveway of their home. Leah is anxious to tell Argie what has happened over the past week and then they go to work.
Leah spends up to 15 minutes on the Belgau Balance Board and completes a series of exercises from the Balametrics program designed to increase her visual tracking skills, awareness of the right side of her body and processing speed of information between both sides of her body. She walks in a figure-eight pattern known as The Infinity Walk that is 10 feet wide to increase symmetry between the right and left sides of her body for up to 20 minutes. After this, Leah works 20 minutes completing neuromuscular reflex integrating exercises to open and close the fingers of her right hand, strengthen her right shoulder, and activate the muscles in her right leg and foot.
Leah is motivated and has the desire to do well in her therapy sessions. This has made all the difference for Leah and as a result, she has made great progress in her treatment. Her family is extremely grateful for the therapy she receives each week and wants to thank you, Florida Elks and ladies organizations, for making this possible for Leah.
Remember, without us, so many children would have to go without much-needed therapy. There continues to be a real need in Florida for our children and the therapy that Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services provides.
On behalf of Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services, thank you for your support of this awesome program that helps us provide in-home physical and occupational therapy for the children of Florida. Please keep up the good work.
Colleen Gallant, Director
Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services