Child of the Month – May 2012

Liam

 
Liam is a very courageous little boy who will never be defeated, but will try something until he finishes it. His courageous spirit has inspired his nickname of “Little Lion Man” around his family. Liam can always be found with a smile on his face and laughter in his heart.
 
 

“He’s our little lion man”

 

Liam was diagnosed with a mild form of cerebral palsy (CP) and left torticollis. His CP presents itself on his left-side, making daily tasks more challenging for him, and causes eating and speech impairments. After trying other therapy programs, he was referred to UCP-OC. “It was night and day” says his mother Gina, “When he comes to UCP-OC, he knows that we are trying to help.”  Liam currently attends physical therapy and occupational therapy at UCP-OC. The physical and occupational therapy has made a great difference in Liam’s symmetry of the left and right side of his body and his fine motor skills. His therapists are wonderful with Liam, and have made a significant impact on what Liam is able to do today.  

Recently, he started receiving speech therapy with Christine, and in only 2 months he has made tremendous strides. At the time of his evaluation he had only a few words, a few signs and rarely produced any sounds other than single vowel sounds when reaching for a desired object. In addition to his expressive language delays Liam presented with a facial asymmetry caused in part from his medical history of left torticollis and CP. Liam’s speech therapy is focused on stretching and strengthening of the oral muscles, creating a balance among the facial muscles, increasing the number of words and sounds he produces and making his speech sound clearer. Every week Liam has surprised us with new sounds and words and he has recently taken to performing some of his oral motor therapy on himself!

While speech therapy may look like fun and games to an outsider, each activity has a purpose behind it. Liam doesn’t realize that the chocolate pudding placed on his upper lip is being used to increase his lingual range of motion and strength, or that the lollypop inside his cheek is being used to release some of the excess tension, he just knows that it tastes yummy! All of our therapy is play based. Liam’s current favorite activity is taking the toys for a swim in the “wawa” where we have been able to add quite a few new words over a bucket of water.  Liam has surpassed all of his speech goals and is a true testament to the power of early identification, intervention and family involvement.

Gina says that Liam’s twin sister, Gianna, has also been a big part of Liam’s progress. Gianna is always pushing Liam to work harder at home and won’t let him give up. Liam loves to follow his sister around the house to prove that no matter what she does, he can do it too.    

Liam has been a fighter all of his life and with the help of UCP-OC, his family and of course his sister Gianna’s great example we know that there isn’t anything he couldn’t do!

 

 

 

If you would like to make a gift to support the services that are helping Liam and his family please click here or contact Elizabeth at ewylie@ucp-oc.org for more information.

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