December 20, 2023
by: Stacia Naoum
He is a playful and motivated one-year-old boy with a genetic condition that affects not only the way he moves and how he talks; but also his understanding and perspective of the world around him. He sees and interacts differently – and UCP of Greater Cleveland helps to provide the tools he needs to thrive in doing so.
Over the summer, Nico completed UCP’s LeafBridge STEPS to Independence intensive therapy program. Nico was bound and determined that he would do more on his own; yet he needed to teach his body to engage with the world around him. Working with pediatric therapists trained in the latest techniques, Nico slowly made progress. Therapists used his love of music as motivation. First, he was alert to the sounds he heard while he practiced propping himself up – he then grew to rolling and sitting – until eventually Nico was able to reach independently to activate and play with his favorite toys with his very own arms! In a short period of time, Nico went from watching from afar to actually playing instruments (in his one-year-old way!).
Early intervention for children like Nico is key – and I think we can all learn about gaining independence through the lens of a curious child.
We are witness to stories like Nico’s every day. Some are grand and there are immediate sweeping changes to the life of a child or adult. Others are subtle and allow us to see the stages of development as they come. All are unique, all are beautiful, all are meaningful; and ALL are possible with the will of an individual, a family, a team member…and because of our donors.