Wednesday, August 27, 2008

And the Award for PT of the Year Goes to...

Renee!!!! Today was a very bittersweet day for us, as it was Renee's last day as Samantha's physical therapist. We are so fortunate to have had Renee in our lives since shortly after Sammi was born. They bonded immediately (and trust me, Samantha doesn't take bonding lightly!), and though there were tough days here and there where Samantha didn't want to work, Renee was consistent, pushing Samantha to meet her goals through patience and persistence. She was always more physical with Sammi than I could ever be; tougher than the mama who would cave in when she felt the slightest little tug of resistance from baby. And she taught Steve, the primary care-giver, to be more persistent and physical with Sammi as well, taught him to be able to follow up on all of the exercises she worked on with her every week. And the results are obvious.

I remember when we had our first home visit from our County service coordinator who asked us what we wanted Samantha to accomplish in her first year. I naiively said I wanted her to be walking by 12 months. She nodded and wrote it down, probably thinking I had a lot of learning to do, but she said nothing. Although I soon learned that my goal was a little unrealistic, I saw the progress Sammi made with Renee. It seemed like every week, the day after her PT appointments, Sammi would suddenly start to do something new, like sit up on her own, pull to stand, finger-feed. She took it all in, processed what she had learned, and began to practice on her own. It was amazing to watch. Samantha began walking at 21 months, ahead of the average age for children with Down syndrome. We are very proud, and know that Renee had such a huge impact on the process, both educating Samantha and educating us to ensure she reached her full potential.

Next week is the start of a whole new adventure: school. And thus, Renee will no longer be Samantha's therapist. But I like to think of it as the passing of the baton - we were so fortunate to have her in our lives, and now we can free her up to help another family and another child to reach his or her potential.

Thank you Renee.


Amber said...

This is a bittersweet time....they become a bit like family, visiting regularly for so long.

How exciting though, this whole new chapter...and she is such a cutie, as usual!

RobMonroe said...

Beautiful post. I've seen the great things that PT's can do with children with Down Syndrome and how much further ahead of the curve it puts them. Be sure to give yourself come credit for that, too. Renee gave YOU tools at the same time that she was helping Sammi.

Best of luck with school starting!

Renee said...

Thank you for your kind words. I loved working with Samantha. You and Steve were wonderful to work with and so good to follow-through.

I have to tell you that I will always remember your family and the fact that one of the first several things Samantha said was "good girl" because she had heard it so many times from you guys. I love that!

JaybirdNWA said...

What a wonderful post and tribute to your PT and friend. As a Physical Therapist Asst. and Dad of a child with Ds,it creates a warm feeling in my heart to hear how people benefit from a Therapist. But don't forget about yourself and the role that you have played. A good PT/PTA learns that the real power is in teaching the parents to be the therapist outside of the "classroom".