| Washington Elks Therapy Program for Children

Meet McKinley. She is one of OUR KIDS. She is so full of life and joy it’s my privilege to go each week to her home and make sure she meets her developmental milestones. You see, McKinley was the first born of dizygotic twins at 33 week gestation. Her twin brother is doing fine. McKinley was born with multiple congenital anomalies including those of spine, heart, kidney, ribs, bowel and bladder. No genetic syndrome has been identified. She is missing one kidney. The other kidney is doing the work of two. That kidney is multi cystic, representing an ongoing concern for her continued health.

She also had a torticollis which has since resolved with stretching and positioning. McKinley has been subjected to testing, surgeries and all that modern medicine can bring to improve her quality of life. No doubt there will be more. When this therapist first met McKinley she was a year old. The parent’s major concerns at that time were about feeding and gross motor skills. At that time, McKinley still had some head control issues, low trunk tone, and was unable to get to sitting or standing. Her fine motor skills were in the normal range as was her active, curious mind. The feeding issues where being managed successfully by the mother, though McKinley has a G tube for delivery of fluids. We scheduled weekly visits to see if we could help McKinley develop some antigravity skills, like getting to sitting and standing and of course the longer range goal of walking. It helps to have a twin brother who is a little ahead of you to challenge your skills. We always included him in the therapy sessions which made for everyone having a good time.

We focused on strengthening and getting McKinley up and walking. She walks everywhere now, is beginning to jump up, and step up with hand support. She feeds herself with spoon. She has a great vocabulary and adventurous spirit. She talks up a storm and all in all is doing great! And, she is really cute!! We pray her kidney will hold and that some of the other medical issues can be resolved over time.

It is difficult enough to raise twins and even more difficult when one twin has medical issues. Having the therapy in the home was just what this family needed. These parents are so able and willing to following through on the therapy suggestions. That’s one of the reasons McKinley has made such enormous progress. The sky is the limit for her!! Thank you, Elks, for giving the gift of therapy to McKinley.

From McKinley’s mother:

As a first time mother of twins, born almost 7 weeks early and one with major medical issues, I’ve at times felt a bit overwhelmed. (And that’s putting it lightly!) One thing that has been an absolute blessing for us is the in home care we get from McKinley’s Occupational Therapist. After McKinley’s initial 6 months in and out of the hospital (mostly in) we started seeing a therapist that just didn’t seem to fit McKinley’s needs/personality. This therapist was supposed to see us weekly but it often worked out to about once a month. McKinley was making progress, but barely. It was discouraging, and frankly, a burden to coordinate these appointments. Then we met our Elk’s therapist, Kathy. Our lives changed! McKinley started, standing up, then crawling, then walking and now running, walking on her tip toes, jumping and everything else to keep up with her brother! The progress was rapid, and as she progressed McKinley started to light up. She’s happier, healthier and having the most fun I’ve ever seen her have. We look forward to our visit from Kathy each week (Kathy-toys, as they call her). She’s really become like a part of the family. We’re so blessed to have met someone who cares so much about McKinley’s medical progress as well as her as a person. And another great thing is that Kathy includes brother Brooks in all of the sessions. Although he doesn’t really need the therapy, he has a blast! We are blessed to have Kathy as our therapist. Thank you Elks!

Washington State Elks Association