Benedict “Ben” was delivered full-term by C-section in September 2012. By age 4 months he had undergone three open-heart surgeries common with Down Syndrome: Correction of the aorta repair at five days old, complete atrial-ventricular septal defect repair in December 2012, and mitral valve repair in January 2013. At one month, Ben began to have a series of respiratory infections, which required a long-term hospitalization and reinforced his need for a placement of a G-tube.
After spending the first years of his life on oxygen and struggling to live Ben has slowly made progress physically and developmentally. The Washington Elks Therapy Program for Children started giving Ben occupational therapy when he was two months old. In the beginning his OT worked on teaching the family positioning and handling techniques. Then, it went on to movement and play. Since Ben had to be in a hospital bed the first few months of his life, he developed a flat head. The therapist helped get him a cranial molding helmet to re-shape his head. Ben is now crawling and pulling himself up to furniture. Ben will sidestep around furniture, and just recently got orthotics for his feet and a walker. Ben is able to complete puzzles and play with a variety of toys. He has six brothers and sisters which love being involved in therapy and teaching him new skills. The family truly appreciates their Elks therapist. In their words “Her understanding, kindness, knowledge, and patience have helped to make learning new skills fun for Ben and his family. They are truly grateful to have the sunshine she brings in their lives! Thank you!”