Patient Jordynn in physical therapy

May 08, 2023 / Pediatric Developmental Disabilities

An Affirmation of Independence

 Published in Rite Up, 2023 – Issue 1. 

I’m brave. I’m strong. I’m beautiful. I’m perfect — just the way God made me,” says 8-year-old Jordynn, of Crowley, with her mother, DeAdriene. Together, they practice daily affirmations. “Because of Jordynn’s condition, she is different,” DeAdriene says. “When you’re different, it can be a confidence killer. I want her to be the best version of herself that she can be.”
Jordynn was born at 30 weeks and spent six weeks in the NICU. At her 12-month appointment, she could not sit up or walk. Her pediatrician said not to worry about walking until she was 18 months old. “At 18 months, Jordynn still wasn’t sitting up,” DeAdriene says. “We’d have to prop her up in a corner.”

A month later, Jordynn was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder that affects a person’s ability to move. Jordynn’s condition was caused by periventricular leukomalacia, a type of brain injury that is common in very premature babies. In Jordynn’s case, it affected her legs the most. “When we found out, it was really hard,” DeAdriene says. “We were seeing all these doctors, and they said she would never walk independently.”
Jordynn began wearing leg braces, and at age 3, received a gait trainer — an assistive device similar to a walker that supports a child’s mobility. For long distances, she used a wheelchair. As Jordynn grew, she began taking steps on her own, but she could not put her right foot flat on the ground. “The position of her foot was horrible,” DeAdriene says. “Her braces had stopped working because her muscles were so tight.”
DeAdriene had heard about a surgery that she thought could help. When Jordynn was 5, she was referred to Scottish Rite for Children where they sought advice from a team of cerebral palsy experts, including Lane Wimberly, M.D., medical director of movement science and pediatric orthopedic surgeon, and Fabiola I. Reyes, M.D., pediatric physical medicine and rehabilitation physician.
Jordynn underwent a thorough evaluation, including a gait analysis in Scottish Rite’s Movement Science Lab. The analysis measured Jordynn’s walking ability, which aided in designing a customized treatment plan. Through surgery, Dr. Wimberly lengthened her Achilles tendon and hamstring to get her foot into a neutral position. Over the next year, Jordynn regained strength through physical therapy and home exercises. During that time, Dr. Reyes provided tone management by prescribing medication to relieve Jordynn’s muscle spasms, which completely resolved her pain.
“Scottish Rite has exceeded our expectations,” DeAdriene says. “Jordynn is not only walking, she’s running around with her friends. She’s even on the dance team at school!” “Jordynn is happy and active,” Dr. Reyes says, “and that is our ultimate goal for our patients.”
Read the full issue.

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