Lauren Tanner did not want someone to soothe her concerns and tell her everything was fine. She wanted someone to tell her what was wrong with her newborn son, Noah.
When Noah was just 2 weeks old, Lauren started noticing that her son was not using his left hand and was keeping it clenched in a fist. But her primary doctor told her for months that he was just right-hand dominant and everything was fine.
At 6 months old, Noah still wasn’t using his left hand and Lauren sought an evaluation from a physical therapist at Children’s at Sandy Plains. Cindy Stocklin, P.T., immediately thought something was wrong with Noah–either a brachial plexus injury or a fetal stroke–and recommended Lauren take him to a pediatric neurologist.
“I am very thankful that Cindy told me that something is wrong,” Lauren said. “She didn’t sugarcoat it, which would do nothing for him. I didn’t want to beat around the bush.”
After a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, Lauren learned that her son had suffered a fetal stroke and 20 percent of his brain was damaged.
“It slowly dawned on us that this will be a lifelong thing,” Lauren said. “We were going to run into obstacles at every step of the way. It is going to be a long process.”
Noah went to physical therapy at Sandy Plains for more than a year, where he met all of the goals Cindy set for him. Cindy used a variety of activities to help Noah, including playing with an exercise ball and doing strength exercises to help him sit up, crawl on all fours and eventually walk.
“It looks like a lot of fun,” Lauren said. “It looks like they are just playing with toys. But they are playing to get somewhere, to make improvements.”
Approaching his second birthday, Noah is going to occupational therapy with Katie Perez, O.T., and has started speech-language pathology sessions with Krista Bergey, S.L.P., at Sandy Plains. In his first speech-language session, Noah worked on producing words with consonant sounds like “b” and “m.” By the end of the session, he said “ba” for “ball” a few times.
In Noah’s occupational therapy sessions, Katie is working on improving coordination skills and range of motion in his shoulders, arms, wrists and hands.
When he gets home from either therapy session, he has more work to do. Each therapist gave Lauren a set of exercises she does with Noah every day.
Lauren was so appreciative of the help Noah received that she held a costume party fundraiser for Children’s in August in Inman Park.
“He has really come a long way,” Lauren said. “I’m sure that without Children’s, we wouldn’t be where we are. They have taught him how to do things the right way.”