Joshua, affectionately referred to as “Joshie” by his friends and family, was referred to Milwaukee County’s Early Intervention/Birth to Three Program in July of 2015 for a concern with his gross motor skills (these develop through the use of the large muscles in your body like your arms and legs.) His parents noticed he wasn’t developing in the same way as his peers and wanted to help him accomplish what his peers were accomplishing.

After Joshie was evaluated for the program, they found he qualified and was referred to St. Francis Children’s Center to receive services. When Joshie started working with his team at SFCC, he was just under a year old and was not yet crawling, pulling to stand, or getting into the 4-point position (hands and knees on the floor). Using Joshie’s family’s existing routine and concerns for his development, the team developed goals for him to work towards – being able to roll, crawl, and get into 4-point during free time. After his first six months in the program, Joshie had accomplished all of those goals. He was able to roll from tummy to his back unassisted, crawl, pull to stand, and sit independently. The next goals that the team decided to work towards were for Joshie to walk and begin to use his words. While his team and family were thrilled with his progress, they soon had new concerns.

His physical therapist, Lisa Davis, and his mom, Thresa, began noticing that Joshie had heavy breathing, a delay in hair growth, was frequently sweaty, and had an overall difficult time completing tasks without breaks due to shortness of breath. When Thresa took him in for his two year check-up, his doctor discovered that his PDA (Patent ductus arteriosus) had not closed properly. PDA is a heart defect caused by problems in the heart’s development.In January of 2017, Joshua had surgery to correct the PDA and has improved tremendously. “His hair filled in, he has more energy, [is] vibrant, and [has come] alive,” his mother explained. His therapists report that he no longer has shortness of breath, he is talking more, and walking. According to his therapist Lisa, “he has taken off,” and is making progress every day.
Joshua will be graduating from the program this month, the day before his 3rd birthday. When asked about the Birth to Three Program, Thresa explained, “I want everyone to know about the dedication and support that they can expect to receive through the services from St. Francis Children’s Center’s Birth to Three Program. Thestaff always had my family’s best interest at heart and we are very grateful.”

Joshie is now developmentally age appropriate, able to be independent, and has hit his milestones. Thresa is so proud of Joshua, as is his entire St. Francis Children’s Center team.

Written by Amanda DiPalma, published in 2017. 

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