Sam hiking in the Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, CO
Five years ago, Amy Sanders was sitting in the waiting room at Physical Therapy Care & Aquatic Rehab of Fort Bend with her son Sam when she saw another child walking out of the clinic. Wistfully she wondered if Sam would ever be able to walk. During that first visit, Patti Kocich, his therapist and President of the company made the promise: “Sam will walk just like that one day.”
Sam was born with a genetic disorder affecting his entire midline which includes the brain structure, eyes, speech, feeding systems and spine. His issues were so severe that he began physical therapy immediately. Seeking greater opportunities to help Sam, his family moved to Houston from Kansas. As their family grew and schedules became busy, Amy decided to find a physical therapy clinic closer to home.
“Sam’s family is awesome,” said Patti. “From the beginning we became a team focused on helping Sam. I can’t describe just how important that is.”
Amy homeschools Sam and his day is highly structured, packed with activities including computer work, a walk, vestibular work, spelling and sequencing, activities in a sensory room and story time.
“Sam understands what is going on,” explained Amy, “he just can’t express it. He watches movies in Spanish and French. I think he started to do that when his brother was learning Spanish in High School,” she laughed.
“As therapists and most especially for our pediatric patients, we have to get to know each one as an individual in order to know how and when to the proper scientific knowledge,” explained Patti. “Our goal is to understand which type of interaction is most effective in getting the responses we’re looking for.”
“Sam has had more than 40 procedures in his life including 10 back surgeries and they haven’t been easy ones,” said Amy. “However, just like his siblings go to sports and activities, this is Sam’s activity and he came even if he didn’t feel great.”
Walking as his mom, Amy watches proudly
“The results may be small and slow with this population but bottom line they are RESULTS!” explained Patti. “As a pediatric therapist you set goals for your ‘kid’ each day. However, the way you work on the goal for that day is a process in motion. You can’t go in there with a set plan because that day may require a different approach: A continuum of care and patience is what it takes.”
Sam started with a gait trainer and had braces on his legs. Over time, he graduated to a rolling reverse walker. Now he no longer wears the braces or uses the walker and his beloved service dog, Mr. Pibb, provides the extra help he needs to balance.
“Sam has scoliosis and his center of gravity is a 90 degree curve,” Amy pointed out. “Of all the therapies here though, the aquatic therapy turned the corner for him because it got him strong and helped him to balance.”
Sam is now 17 years old and Patti made good on her promise: Sam is walking.
With conviction in her voice Amy confidently declared, “I know for sure that Sam would not be independently mobile if he had not received therapy here.”