BENEFITING: THE BELL CENTER FOR EARLY INTERVENTION PROGRAMS
EVENT DATE: Feb 12, 2012
Thomas Hill was born on April 19, 2010, to proud parents, Jamie and Trey Hill and big brother, Charlie. He appeared to be a 6 lb. 6 oz. healthy baby boy. A few minutes after he was born he was taken to the NICU for breathing difficulties. Thomas could not nurse or eat by mouth because of his breathing difficulties. Thomas was fed through a tube in his nose. He also had severe reflux which caused him to lose weight instead of gain. He was labeled failure to thrive.
Thomas was transferred to Children's Hospital when he was two weeks old. After two months of testing (swallow studies, lung x-rays, MRI, genetics testing, etc.) and Thomas not gaining much weight, doctors decided to do a fundoplication surgery to stop the reflux and place a permanent feeding tube in his abdomen. Doctors also decided that it would be best that he have a trach placed to help him breath. Lastly, doctors did an MRI of his brain and discovered that he has hypoplasia of the Corpus Callosum, or underdeveloped Corpus Callosum. The Corpus Callosum is an important part of the brain that passes information back and forth from the right and left hemispheres of the brain. Therefore, Thomas is slower to process information than the average person. Even the simplest thing as telling your body to reach your right hand out and pick up a toy, can be challenging.
After two months of recovery and parental training, Thomas was finally able to go home with his parents! He was four months old.
Today, Thomas is 18 months old. He faces lots of challenges every day, but he always does it with a smile! The Hill family feels extremely blessed to have The Bell Center as part of Thomas's therapy. Thomas loves every minute that he spends there. He has been labeled the class clown because he thinks everything is worth a smile and he's also been labeled a snuggle-bug because he would rather snuggle up with his therapist than do his physical therapy. Thomas has made great strides at The Bell Center. He's prop sitting by himself, rolling over, and learning how to crawl and stand. He has learned how to make cognitive decisions like picking out the right toy when asked or picking his picture from all of the children's pictures in his class. He has learned how to wave hello and goodbye and is working on other basic signs in sign language. He's a sweet and happy boy and we're all so proud of him!
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The Bell Center offers early intervention services to children at risk for delay, often within a few days or weeks after birth. Parents often feel a sense of helplessness when they discover their child has special needs; however, the Bell Center staff and volunteers are able to provide them with specific information and encouragement allowing parents to move from a sense of confusion, to a deep pride in their children’s accomplishments and optimism for the future.
Programs at The Bell Center are designed to promote growth in gross and fine motor skills, as well as language, cognition, self-help, and play skills. Each child is evaluated annually, and goals are tailored specifically to the child’s needs. The Bell Center employs a staff of highly qualified professionals including physical and occupational therapists, speech/language pathologists, and early childhood special education teachers who work directly with infants and toddlers in many programs while directing the efforts of volunteers who work with toddlers in other programs.
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