We're from Virginia. This is our first time at Ability Camp. Christopher was a full term child. He had a stroke when he was in uterus and had his first seizure at 8 days. We've been here for 3 weeks. In that time Christopher’s speech has improved, he's able to put more sentences together, like two words “Momma go!” where he couldn't do that before. He's using his right hand a lot better. He's interacting better. It's just a wonderful program here and it works. Christopher put a ball in his hand for the first time and closed it without even thinking about it, he just did it, and I cried!
Donald:We're really happy. I do believe the Hyperbaric Oxygen treatment has actually helped him. His balance seems to have improved. I think he's much more aware of his arm then he was before.
Penny:His verbalization is so much better and he's more alert of his surroundings. Like Donnie said, before he didn't know his arm was there. He never used it, he didn't care, it was dead. Now he knows it's there and he's using it.
Donald: Christopher now can grasp his toy sword with two hands and moves both of his hands together. Before, he would take it with one hand, but now uses two, something he hasn't done before.
Penny: Also before if he tried to walk up a hill he would fall. Now he can walk up or down a hill without falling and he does it without even thinking. He just goes down and comes back up. His balance is better. He's able to catch himself before he falls where as before he wouldn't do that, he would just fall.
And next year hopefully, we'll be back for the Conductive Education and the Hyperbaric treatment. To other parents 100 %, come! Don't let money be an issue. Find a way. Don't let money stop you. It's not a miracle but every little bit helps. This little bit has helped us. I think it's made us happier than it's made him.
While you are here you're not different. Before this Christopher never wore shorts. This is the first time he has worn shorts away from home because I don't like people looking at his legs and his braces and I would never put him in shorts. I'd change him and put him in blue jeans and you couldn't tell. Where here, I'm like, “You know, I'm going to put shorts on you cause you're the same.” You don't have to prove yourself here.
There are other children that are worse off than yours and there are other children that are better off then your child. We don't compare our children. When a child does something, walks with a cane for the first time here, everybody feels that happiness, not just the parent. When Christopher says a word, or says good morning to somebody, everybody feels that ...“Alright!” Everyone encourages you to go the next step.
This is our second visit to Ability Camp. The first time was in September for the Oxygen treatment. We came back a few months later to do Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment and Conductive Education because the first time I was here, I got to meet the group of kids in Conductive Ed and when I saw the results they got, I said I have to do that for my child.
Katerina used a wheelchair before, she had a walker but she would only go straight and had no idea how to maneuver it to be functional. Now she is walking by herself, (independently without the walker) which she wasn't doing before we came! She’s more attentive. Her attention is better .She recognizes the songs that they sing in class. So it’s definitely been a positive experience. I just never thought I would see it.
Well you know, five years go by, and you just kind of think, well this is what she’s going to be. Therapies we’ve done and stuff, really have made small changes. So you kind of get used to, “This is going to be my kid in a wheelchair and that’s it. So now that she’s walking, it’s shocking! I think I’ll have to absorb the fact that’s she’s doing it and go home and cry about it. I know telling people at home that she’s walking, they say, oh, ok, because they don’t see it and because I’m crying on the phone…”She’s walking!” but I think when I go home it just has to kind of set in.
I’m handing the introductory package to Katerina’s pediatrician because he has a few families who are interested and he will pass it on. Hopefully some of them will come. We are coming back in September. I would definitely tell them to go, because of the accomplishments we got. I can’t promise everyone will get the same thing out of it, but definitely we tell everyone to try it.