Pediatric Therapies – Helping William smile and grow

WilliamPedTherapiesBobby Rich looks incredulously at Joni Lukavich as she tells Bobby and the MixFM crew of the failure she felt as a parent watching her son William struggle with feeding issues.

“But that’s crazy!” Bobby shakes his head.

“I’m his mom, this is one of the most basic needs and I couldn’t help my baby.” Joni replies.

It’s a common sentiment for parents of children with feeding problems Joni adds while sharing William’s story at the Mix Miracles Radiothon.

Despite being born at almost full-term, William weighed only 4 pounds. Exposure in utero to several substances including meth, cocaine, marijuana, and alcohol meant William needed NICU services when he was born. When Joni and Robert met the little baby they were going to welcome via adoption into their family for the first time, William was just 12 days old and just about to be discharged from the NICU. “Shortly after birth William was diagnosed as failure to thrive, this was a new and very scary road for us.  It was clear early on that William would need intervention to meet the normal developmental milestones.”

William was referred over to TMC for Children’s Outpatient Pediatric Therapies where he received Speech, Feeding, Occupational, and Physical therapies.

“Through the support of Brenda, his feeding therapist, we worked for some time to adjust calories and encourage him to take more calories.”

Unfortunately, William was unable to take in enough calories via regular feeding.

“With Brenda’s encouragement, we finally agreed to a g-tube.”

A g-tube is a gastrostomy tube is placed when children have swallowing or feeding problems. This tube helps with feeding and releases air from your child’s stomach.

“This was a very hard decision for us, it felt like if we just worked a bit harder, he would gain the weight.  I felt like such a failure when we made the decision to get his tube.  Brenda’s support and encouragement were so important during this time.  It was just another chapter, not the end of the book for William!”

Since William has had his tube, with a Nissen procedure to help prevent reflux, he has grown and done so much better.  “I’m so relieved we made that decision, and so thankful to everyone over at Outpatient Therapies, especially Brenda!”

Last Spring, Joni was approached by Charlene, William’s physical therapist, about the opportunity for an intensive therapy program. Eight weeks of five-day a week therapy over the summer. While Joni’s family has good health insurance, like the vast majority of health insurance programs in the United States, her insurance would not cover the cost of the intensive therapy that William needed.

William received a grant from Children’s Miracle Network to pay for this intensive therapy.  Joni shares the impact of those eight weeks of intensive therapy,

“Those eight weeks made such a difference for William!  He made a huge step with his speech, physical, and occupational therapies!  It provided the springboard he needed to reach his goals.”

Today, William is still in speech, feeding, and occupational therapies, but is on a break right now from physical therapy, because he met his current goals.  He will be reevaluated in a couple of months.

“Outpatient Pediatric Therapies has made all the difference in William!  We are sure he would not be as far along as he is today, if it wasn’t for the wonderful and caring professionals at TMC for Children Outpatient Therapies.”

CMNDonateNowThe MixFM Mix Miracles Radiothon might be over, but you can still give the gift of health to children all over Southern Arizona with a donation to Children’s Miracle Network. Help children like William reach their potential.