Alexander's Story

Alexander was born with spastic quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy and cortical visual impairment.  Since six months old, Alexander was receiving traditional therapy of occupational therapy, speech therapy, feeding therapy and physical therapy.  Alexander started pre-school and kindergarten in the public school system in Tampa.  The school had a great physical therapist that worked with Alexander in the gait trainer and other equipment.  However, due to budget cuts and few aides in the classroom, Alexander was not given individualized attention that he needed.   I would periodically visit the school, and find Alexander in the wheelchair by himself.   I moved to Melbourne, Florida shortly thereafter and placed Alexander in a private school for children with physical disabilities.  Again, the school didn’t offer 1:1 student/aide ratio in the classroom and Alexander was kept in a wheelchair most of the day.  The curriculum had not really changed in four years that Alexander attended that school.  I felt Alexander was bored and not challenged academically.

Alexander loves to walk and play on the floor.  I started placing Alexander in the gait trainer in the morning and walking him into school each morning and staying with him for 30-40 minutes and practiced walking in the gait trainer.  I hired a nurse to go to school with him to work on his toileting skills.  I saw that Alexander wanted to learn more and walk more frequently.  He loves a challenge and I felt the school was not working on any skills to make Alexander independent on any level whether it was self-feeding, toileting, walking, etc.    Often, I would pick up Alexander from school and he was crying and left in a dirty diaper.    During the past two years, I saw Alexander was becoming increasingly frustrated and unhappy.  He was trapped in a body he wanted to use.     I knew I had to make a change for Alexander and decided to try conductive education.

Alexander went to CECO’s Summer Camp this past summer and loved it.   I would pick him up from camp and he would vocalize to me and was so happy.  Alexander had more trunk strength and better head control.  I took Alexander to his treating neurologist who noticed the improvement with Alexander’s trunk and head control without me even mentioning that Alexander had been at a summer camp program.  Alexander’s gastroenterologist also noticed that Alexander’s muscle tone was the best she ever seen, including around Alexander’s abdominal area.

Alexander started school at CECO this past August and loves it.   I have noticed more improvement in Alexander’s trunk strength and head control.  Alexander can sit up with his arm splints on and support himself 20-30 minutes.  This is major progress for Alexander.   He also is learning to weight bear more on his legs and he now pushes up using his legs to stand up from a sitting position.   This is also a new development and is very exciting.  Alexander is also taking more consistent steps and weight bearing more on his feet when he walks in the gait trainer.  Alexander is consistently placed on the toilet after each meal at CECO to help improve his toileting skills.    The 1:1 student/aide ratio provides the individualized attention that Alexander needs.  He’s very happy when I pick him up from school now.   I know Alexander has a long road ahead of him but each small step is a giant gain for Alexander.   At least as a mother now, I feel I am on the right road for Alexander’s future.

 I’m looking forward to Alexander starting the walking challenge program next month and Summer Camp next year to see even more improvement in Alexander.  

Sincerely, Tricia Elin (Alexander's Mom)