| Washington Elks Therapy Program for Children

Brooklyn is now 6 years old and has just completed kindergarten. She was initially referred to the WA Elks Therapy Program, our Major Project, at 9 months of age due to concerns regarding her motor skill development.

Brooklyn was born premature at 37 weeks’ gestation via C-section due to her mother’s health requiring immediate gallbladder removal. Brooklyn was found to have hydrocephalus and a shunt had to be placed the day after birth. Hydrocephalus is a condition in which an accumulation of cerebral spinal fluid occurs within the brain. This typically causes increased pressure inside the skull. To manage this condition, hydrocephalus shunting involves the implantation of two catheters and flow control valve system to drain the excess accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid from the brain to another part of the body where it can be absorbed. Brooklyn was in the hospital for two weeks following her birth but otherwise, was considered to be in good overall health.

Brooklyn soon developed plagiocephaly on the left side of her skull, along with torticollis. Plagiocephaly is a condition which appears in babies and infants and characterized by an asymmetrical flattening of the head and face caused by lying or being recumbent for too long. Torticollis is a condition which involves tightened muscles on one side of the neck, which leaves the baby’s head at a tilt, rotation or a combination of both.

Treating these issues and minimizing developmental delays were the major focus of treatment in therapy for Brooklyn. Her Occupational Therapist provided positioning techniques, increased her tolerance for tummy time, and implemented play activities to encourage strengthening of her the neck and back muscles necessary for her to lift and rotate her head voluntarily and to begin to sit up without assistance. This reduced the amount of time that Brooklyn spent on her back, with pressure on her flat spot. With these skilled treatment techniques her head shape improved and she developed more symmetry of her face, neck, shoulders and spine. As Brooklyn’s posture, muscle tone, and tolerance for movement improved, she began meeting her developmental milestones.

Today, Brooklyn still struggles with some residual vision difficulties and wears glasses. She is receiving occupational therapy in school to fine tune her visual and handwriting skills. She continues to be a sweet, bright, energetic, and determined little girl!

Brooklyn’s parents are grateful for the help they received through the Elks Therapy Program when early treatment was critical for Brooklyn. Many thanks to ALL the Elks members and friends for supporting the Elks Therapy Program and making possibilities happen for “OUR KIDS”.

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