Life’s a Journey With CP and Me

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Hello UCP-OC!

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly the months go by, and has been awhile since I have written to all of you, so I’ll just give a quick little background on who I am and what I do for new readers.

My name is Katy Fetters and I am a sophomore at Soka Univeristy in Aliso Viejo, CA.  I also have cerebral palsy on the left side of my body and always have to be super conscious of my physical health as a result. I lack a lot of balance and coordination, but still try to stay active so my legs will be always be strong! Over the past year I have had to deal with a bad stress fracture in both of my feet due to my abnormal gait, and so I have really been stretching often and making sure I can avoid any more pain or surgeries. You could say this is the life of a college student with CP, ha!

Anyway—As important as it is that you know who I am is, that is not exactly what I want to talk to you about today! I would like to share with you that the Sea & Sky Guild’s Casino Royale is this Saturday, March 9th. Last year I was so kindly invited to be a guest speaker at their very successful fundraising event. Alongside CP Ironman and friend of UCP-OC, Bonner Paddock—I spoke about what it was like growing up with a physical disability and really tried to instill the importance of this fundraiser to the audience. It was a huge honor, and my first public speaking engagement about having CP. I was nervous but I knew it was important to talk about my experiences and to recognize how unique this center really is. As a child, I did not have a Life Without Limits Center to go to, I didn’t know anyone like me, and so I often went about life ignoring my disability. It was especially hard for me as I went into high school—feeling alone in this….Not having a center like UCP-OC when I was young, I always found it really difficult to make PT and CP a part of my routine day. My siblings and parents will agree when I say that I was the most stubborn child when it came to confronting my CP for what it was! So take it from me—the kids at UCP-OC may not realize it now, but the Life Without Limits Therapy Center is one of the most valuable centers around here for families and children with disabilities. It forces them to stretch, to interact with others, and to have that physical, social, and emotional support that they need! So please, if you are considering going to the Guild Event this next week, please go out and support Linda Beresford’s family and the Guild’s efforts to raise money for our community’s center!

Child of the Month: March 2013

IMG_0800Melanie: March 2013

From my first interaction with Melanie I could see that she has a sense of adventure that cannot be rivaled…or stifled! Melanie’s curiosity brings her into many a unique situation, but it is her ingenuity & problem solving skills that really astound me. When she has her mind-set to do something she will think of any clever way to complete that task; she is very determined. Her determination presents itself in all aspects of her life even in her consideration and love for those around her. Melanie wants those around her to know she cares and many times she shows this in her helpfulness. She likes to help out with the chores around the house, and her mother turns these situations into opportunities for therapy in home.

Melanie has global developmental delays and hypotonia (low muscle tone) which presents itself in her gait. Like so many of our families, her care is in the fore-front of everything they do. This February, her father returned from his 4th tour, a very exciting moment for Melanie and her family. When her parents discovered her delays they knew that therapy was the way to narrow the deficit. With this need for continued access to medical care, specialists and therapy, her father re-enlisted into the army to ensure Melanie got the care she needed.

IMG_0804Darling Melanie receives physical therapy and speech therapy at UCP-OC working on progression of age-appropriate language and motor skills. Pati , SLPA, works on language skills.  She has done an astounding job facilitating 3-5 word sentences, descriptive words, transitioning from one activity to another and preparation to sit and attend in school. Beth, MPT, UCP-OC physical therapist, has been working on incorporating playtime into Melanie’s physical therapy sessions.  This is due to the extensive stretching that Melanie requires in order to improve her posture and alignment.  UCP-OC physical therapist Beth works on strengthening, stretching, balance, gait, body awareness and safety.

Melanie’s mother says that therapy is a family activity at home. Her brother John and sister Abigail push and encourage Melanie to meet them in the activities that they are doing. Melanie’s strong sense of purpose, spunk and determination help her get there!

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

Written by: Elizabeth Wylie