Debby has been an important part of our lives for the past three and a half years. Our son Will was born at 29 ½ weeks and, as a result, experienced developmental delays common to premature infants. We were referred to Debby by the Northwestern Memorial Developmental Clinic when they noticed weakness in his trunk and stiffness in his legs.
Debby started working with Will at 13 months (unadjusted age). She now admits that she knew that she had her work cut out for her! Will showed all of the signs of both hypotonia (trunk) and hypertonia (legs). He needed to strengthen his core and leg muscles in order to progress to the next milestone, walking.
We set up a schedule of twice weekly visits where Debby worked with Will using a variety of exercises. Will has always seen Debby's visits as playtime and enjoys his time with her despite the (sometimes) hard work. After each visit, Debby would leave us with a series of fun exercises on which to work before her next visit.
As Will grew and learned to walk, Debby incorporated orthotics into his regimen. His daytime AFOs (ankle foot orthotics) ensure that his gait is correct and his nighttime AFOs increase his flexibility and range.
As Will reached the age of two and continued to make progress, our visits with Debby decreased to once weekly. They have now tapered off to every other month and serve as a check-in point to monitor him as he continues to grow.
Debby's years of patient and clinical experience are evident. She also has the collective wisdom of her Children's Memorial Hospital colleagues at her fingertips. But most important to a patient and his parents are Debby's patience, enthusiasm for her craft and her love of children. She has a warm, reassuring style that is welcomed by sometimes nervous and apprehensive parents. As the physical therapist at Northwestern said to me as she recommended Debby, "if I had a child who needed therapy, he would be going to Debby." That to me said it all.
To make a long story short, Will is now four years old and running, jumping and riding his bike. He enjoys swimming, gymnastics, soccer and getting into trouble with his brother.
We were the lucky ones to have Debby with us along the way.