Building a Community of Support: Hannah’s Story
Jackie believes that Bob’s ability to connect with Hannah is a key factor in her success. He has earned Hannah’s trust and is the reason she looks forward to visits.
“I can’t wait to see Bob and show him my princess dress!” three-year-old Hannah proclaimed to her mother, Jackie, on a recent trip to Prosthetic & Orthotic Solutions, where she would visit her orthotist Bob White, C.O., P.T.A.
Hannah and her twin sister, Grace, arrived in pretty spring dresses, fancy bows in their hair, and sparkly shoes on their feet. There was no hesitation in their steps as they made their way down our hallway of offices and exam rooms with Jackie and their grandmother in tow; they know their way around and feel welcome here. Their joy, contagious as always, put an instant smile on each staff member they passed.
The comfort Hannah and her family feel when they walk through our doors is our goal with every family we work with. Each child is on a unique journey. For Hannah, like many children, the journey involves a team of people who are working together to support her growth and development.
Our relationship with Hannah and her family began when was she was just six months old. She had developed a misshapen head from lying in one direction due to torticollis (a condition that causes an infant to have a tilted head and difficulty turning the neck from tight muscles). Her physical therapist from early intervention talked to her family about the option of a cranial remolding helmet and referred them to Prosthetic & Orthotic Solutions. Craig Babyak, C.P.O., fit Hannah for her helmet. As a new mom, the compassion with which they were treated during that time stood out to Jackie.
The comfort Hannah and her family feel when they walk through our doors is our goal with every family we work with. Each child is on a unique journey.
“From the beginning, we have received very personalized service,” Jackie reflects. “Craig even drove home from vacation when Hannah had a red mark on her head that wasn’t supposed to be there. He met us in their office on a Saturday and reshaped her helmet.”
Around 19 months of age, Hannah and her family returned. Diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, Hannah was learning to walk and they were exploring orthotic braces to reduce her toe walking and in-toeing. Again, through referrals, they chose Prosthetic & Orthotic Solutions.
“We talked to every physical therapist we knew, connected with other parents and playgroups. The name that kept cycling through was coming here. As a parent, you pick and choose who you see, and you want only the best. You don’t want to have to be here, but you are glad you are here,” says Jackie.
Bob started Hannah with SMOs (Supra Malleolar Orthosis), and she now wears hinged AFOs (Ankle Foot Orthosis). He has helped Hannah’s family understand how her braces support her body and how they will help her with tone management as she grows.
“We need that part to be perfect to be effective,” Jackie emphasizes. “Bob is invested in Hannah, he’s invested in her progress.”
And she is making progress, indeed! At home, the outdoor play structure is the place to be these days. Hannah is scaling the rock-climbing wall, climbing the ladder to get to the slide, and using the trapeze swing. At preschool, her braces are helping her meet her physical goals of navigating the playground and mastering the stairs safely.
Jackie believes that Bob’s ability to connect with Hannah is a key factor in her success. He has earned Hannah’s trust and is the reason she looks forward to visits. When she was nervous about the casting step required to make AFOs, Bob sang her favorite song from Disney’s Moana, which helped her get through that appointment with ease.
She has a community of support in place so that her daughter can go about the business of learning, playing, growing, and loving life. We are honored to be a part of her community.
“She is incredibly vibrant and tenacious. Thankfully she has a very go-with-the-flow attitude. She has adjusted easily to using her braces. I attribute that to her experience here. Nothing has been intimidating. Her initial introduction to the concept has been positive. It is always kid-centered here,” says Jaclyn.
What advice does Jaclyn have for families who are just beginning their journey? “It’s going to be okay!” she stresses, followed by, ”Do your homework. You have to build the right community around you.”
Jaclyn has clearly done her homework, which no doubt contributes to the confidence and technical detail with which she explains Hannah’s journey thus far and the goals they are working toward. Perhaps most heartwarming is the pride that radiates from her when she describes her daughter’s analytical mind, her love of reading, of art, music, dance, and playing doctor. She has a community of support in place so that her daughter can go about the business of learning, playing, growing, and loving life. We are honored to be a part of her community.