Elissa was born only a week early but had premature weight and size. We always thought this was merely because doctors always said she was going to be a dwarf since she stopped growing while in the womb. However, when she was still not holding up her head, rolling over, or doing anything else a “normal” 8 month old should be doing, we were referred to go see a neurologist to run tests. After numerous blood works and intensive testing, nothing seemed to come up.
Because we knew there was something wrong, we started paying a private therapist to come to the house and give Elissa services. After many arguments and convincing doctors that she needed many therapies, we started taking her to Miami Children’s for PT, OT and Oral Motor therapy along with the private therapist we continued paying. Elissa went into surgery after her first year when doctors discovered she was suffering from silent aspiration. A G-Tube was put in, and our world turned upside down for the five months following the surgery until it was discovered that the surgery was done wrong. After arguing with the surgery department and Elissa suffering her only seizure, the surgery was redone.
During this time, we flew to Michigan where they finally told us that Elissa had Cerebral Palsy. We started researching right away different ways in which we can help our daughter. I found a place called Ability Camp in Canada, where they offered Conductive Education. We made the appropriate arrangements and flew over to another country for five weeks. There, we met a mother that informed us about CECO, and we made a trip over during our break. We fell in love the minute we walked in.
Although we were still a bit skeptical about conductive education after our trip to Canada, we decided to give CECO a chance. What can I say?… WOW!! Talk about work. We came in thinking we would have to work as hard as we did in our previous experience. We were awed when we found out that the only one that truly had to work was Elissa. The fact that each child has their assistant with them all day was amazing to us. Not only that, the love and dedication shown by each and every one of them is reflected on the progress of the kids.
Even though we can only participate at the summer camp (only four weeks), Elissa is now allowing me to stretch her without crying. Elissa is doing the sitting and standing program of the day without tears. She is also letting the conductor and her assistant walk her for longer distances. We cannot forget to mention that although she doesn’t know how to communicate her needs to us yet, Elissa is going to the bathroom and not just her diaper.
Jacqueline and Hugo Delgado