The Children's Institute Blog

Amazing Therapists at Sienna's Happy Place

Posted: Oct 15, 2019 by The Children's Institute

Sienna with toy in therapy pool

In honor of National Physical Therapy Month and Down Syndrome Awareness Month this October, we invited the mother of one of our amazing kids to share her honest, heartfelt, and inspiring story in her own words. Read on to learn more about her daughter, Sienna, and why The Children's Institute is her happy place. 

As usual, we are in a rush. I frantically run around the house putting toys away and dishes in the sink. “Sienna, it’s time to go. We have therapy this morning.” I shout as I turn the TV off. Sesame Street disappears from her view. She throws a toy across the room and shouts, “Ow”. Ow is her way of saying no. I attempt to pick her up, but her low muscle tone pulls my body to the ground like a magnet to a refrigerator. It’s getting so much harder to pick her up. I begin to sing, because that’s supposed to help with transitions, but she fights me. I pull out the last weapon in my arsenal to get her into the car. “Miss Amy, Sienna. We are going to see Miss Amy.” I show her a picture of Amy, her Physical Therapist at The Children’s Institute. I have it on my phone in case of situations like this. The big beautiful smile reappears on her face and she begins to move toward the door. Crisis averted.

I remember when we started therapy at The Children’s Institute. I was hesitant to add more activities to our routine. The services we received through early intervention were wonderful, but I couldn’t help but think we could be doing more. Down syndrome affects everyone in different ways. For Sienna, that extra copy of her 21st chromosome has made gross motor skills her biggest challenge. For that reason, I chose to schedule the evaluation. That was the best decision, for Sienna, that I’ve ever made. It’s been over two years since we began at The Children’s Institute. Our current regimen includes weekly occupational therapy, speech language therapy, physical therapy, and water therapy. As soon as we pull in the parking lot, Sienna squeals with delight. I pull her out of her car seat and she practically races to her happy place. She greets Miss Diane and Nick the security guard with loud hi’s, and races to the elevator to get to Miss Amy.

Sienna hugging Amy
Amy has been a part of our journey since we started at The Children's Institute. She has worked with Sienna for over two years. Their bond is a beautiful thing to witness. Amy makes her work harder than anyone and Sienna willingly does it. Why? Because Amy makes therapy seem like playtime. Every week, she has new ideas and suggestions for ways to get Sienna to tackle challenges. Last week, Sienna got to experience what jumping feels like for the very first time. I cried.

Sienna during therapy in pool with AmyI have shed more happy mom tears at The Children’s Institute than anywhere. Sienna has conquered many milestones in those hallways. Amy helped her learn to sit up, crawl, walk, climb out of the bath, get into her car seat independently and now climb steps. She not only helped her hit milestones, but she provides endless support to me. She helped us get orthotics and a walker. Whenever I bring up a challenge, she has a suggestion for how to tackle it. The even better thing is that most of the strategies she suggests actually work! As a mom of a child with a disability, time is often our biggest asset. Having Amy in our lives has given us more of that.

Before our journey began, I don't think I grasped how valuable physical therapists are to families like mine. This journey can be scary and isolating, so having a person on our team that cares about my kid and her progress is the greatest gift we could have been given. Therapists are the unsung heroes. I am so grateful for the opportunity to sing Amy's praises because she deserves it. Thank you, Amy, and all the staff at The Children's Institute. You are the reason that Sienna has a happy place.

Sienna hugging Amy and smiling

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